Eco-Vat | Recycling household water while simultaneously generating hydroelectricity to increase sustainability.
Evelyn Jang , Mia Azzi
Sustainable Cities & Communities
What is the problem you found?
With all the severe droughts happening in the world, the limited supply of fresh water is increasingly one of our most precious resources. It protects the Earth’s ecosystems and wildlife, improves food security, and most importantly, every person on Earth needs water to survive. However, our global supply of fresh water is being used up fast. This is due to a number of factors, including an increasing global population, changes to the way we live and work, and extreme weather events caused by global warming.
With the average Australian using up to 340 litres of water every day, the importance of reducing water usage, or managing it effectively, is becoming significantly important. However, many are unaware of exactly how much water they use, or in some cases, do not care, heightening the issue at hand. Thus, with a limited supply of water, it is crucial that we use it wisely and care for it properly.
What is your opportunity?
How might we more efficiently reuse water from household items?
Who is your audience?
Our intended customers are families who consume large quantities of water. The eco-vat will produce more energy to this target market as they have a higher consumption of water, meaning that they will gain a more advantageous use of our product. However, the eco-vat is also suitable for any household which has a substantial use of household appliances which use water including, dishwashers and washing machines.
What Is Your Solution?
The Eco-Vat is a device which will revolutionize the utilization of water resources in everyday households in order to reduce water usage and lower C02 emissions. How? The Eco-Vat generates hydroelectricity from the movement of water from the flow created during the recycling process, hence killing two birds in one stone; reducing water usage by recycling water from the washing machine and dishwasher, while simultaneously reducing household electricity usage via producing hydroelectricity. This will all occur within the vicinity of one main device; the Eco-Vat, a vat or box of which the water is directed to using pipes (as seen in source A).
Diagram A: Sketch of the product
Diagram B: The Impulse turbine- Contains a small pelton wheel which turns when water is funnelled into a pressurized pipeline with a narrow nozzle. The amount of electricity generated will depend on the total ‘head’ of the flow (the vertical distance the water is falling) and the flow of the water (litres per second), and the electricity output can be calculated using the equation: ‘[net head (feet) × flow (gallons per minute)] ÷ 10 = Watts’.
In this case, a washing machine utilizes approximately 70 litres per load. If we multiply this by 5 metres, assuming a 5 meter ‘head’ for each standard Eco-Vat system, and then divide the product by 10, it would then produce a result of 28.9 Watts of energy for only one use of the washing machine. Combine this with the energy produced by the dishwasher, this electricity will power electrical appliances within the household.
Here are the steps for how it works.
- Water discharge from the washing machine and dishwasher is transported to the Eco-Vat via pipes
- Microhydropower generators with impulse turbines are installed in the mouth of the pipes opening to the vat, as seen in diagram A.
- Movement from the flow of water through from the pipes to the Eco-Vat turns turbines, thus generating electricity which is utilized for the rest of the house’s electrical appliances. (see specifics in source B)
- After generating the electricity, the water is transported through pipes to the toilet, which can be utilized for multiple flushes in order to reuse water as opposed to wasting clean, fresh water.
- Leftover water in the Eco-Vat that is not utilized for the toilet may be disposed of via pipes into the sewerage system.
The EcoVat is not only sustainable, but accessible for all, with for the first 3 months available to the public it will be subsidized by the Government as part of their climate change schemes, however, installation costs will persist. Despite this, the Eco-Vat exists as a long term investment, which will offset this initial cost, with a reduction in household electricity costs. Furthermore, once this product is successfully established within the market, we would like to extend the Eco-Vat to include the shower as an input source in order to generate more electricity and therefore increase efficiency.
New South Wales