BMW Group designer Stephan Augustin has won the National Energy Globe Award 2007 for his invention of the Watercone, a device for generating clean drinking water.
BMW Group designer Stephan Augustin has won the National Energy Globe Award 2007 for his invention of the Watercone, a device for generating clean drinking water. Click image to enlarge

Munich, Germany – BMW Group designer Stephan Augustin has won the National Energy Globe Award 2007 for his invention of the Watercone, a device for generating clean drinking water. His design was selected by an international jury and presented in Brussels in a ceremony that included guests Mikhail Gorbachev and Kofi Annan.

The solar-powered Watercone generates fresh drinking water from salt or brackish water, using sunshine to evaporate and condense the water on the inside of the cone, where it is collected for use. The condensation purifies the water as if it were undergoing a single-stage distillation process. Around 1.6 litres of drinking water can be obtained from a single cone each day. UNICEF estimates that 5,000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by dirty drinking water; the Watercone could also help people living in coastal regions of Africa, Asia and South America to obtain drinking water from sea water.

Augustin, an industrial designer, came up with the idea while on holiday in the Canary Islands, where he thought about how to convert sea water to a daily ration of drinking water. The polycarbonate cone was tested in a BMW wind tunnel to show it can cope with high wind speeds and is largely unaffected by weather. The cone will be put into mass production later this year.

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