Alfredo Zolezzi: how a plasma water purifying system is saving lives

“If we can connect people and their needs with the advancement of technology we will make a better world” claims Alfredo Zolezzi during his talk at Wired 2013. Zolezzi is a Chilean industrial designer and an expert in applied technological…

“If we can connect people and their needs with the

advancement of technology we will make a better world” claims
Alfredo Zolezzi during his talk at Wired 2013. Zolezzi is a Chilean industrial designer and an expert
in applied technological innovations. He has created an integrated
objectives model which he says allows for him to improve
technological innovation and create greater social, emotional and
developmental impact. “For many years I was involved in innovation,
but I discovered I was using 80 percent of my time just surviving
and had little time to create,” explains Zolezzi. “So I decided to
study the innovation models that were already out there, but there
were none. So I wrote my own innovation model and soon after I
started creating some of my most effective products.”Zolezzi soon developed technology that enhanced
the recovery of oil from abandoned oil wells “using high-frequency
and high-powered ultrasound waves.” He wished to innovate further
to create new technologies that could significantly reduce the cost
of refining oil, but something held him back. “I could have made billions,” he said, “but
there is no future if we do not change the way we are addressing
our current problems. Only 2.5 billion people have to access to
clean water, we cannot ignore that reality. We are living the
future but we are still struggling with the problems from the
past.”Wishing to refocus his efforts on humanitarian
needs, Zolezzi set out to create a novel way of purifying water.
The answer was found in plasma.
“In our last test, the plasma procedure killed
off 100 percent of bacteria with 100 percent
efficacy”
Zolezzi created a plasma sanitation system that
can sanitise 35 litres of water in five minutes at a cost per litre
of less than one penny. The system injects water into a reaction
chamber, where it achieves plasma state through a high-intensity
electrical field. The microbiological content of the water is then
eliminated by electroporation, oxidation, ionization, UV and IR
radiation.“This technology won’t remove impurities like
salt or heavy metals, but it will kill bacteria,” Zolezzi
explained. “In our last test, the plasma procedure killed off 100
percent of bacteria with 100 percent efficacy.”The system has been used in a Chilean slum,
where Zolezzi says it has “improved their health, dignity and
quality of life in an instant”.Zolezzi closed his speech remarking that his
technology alone isn’t enough, it’s crucial that social technology
is used in conjunction with this his new device to ensure people
are aware of its existence and importance. He left the stage
reminding us to “just think that there is always someone who is not
as privileged as we are. We have problems, but all this privilege
that we have is also our commitment”.