Clean water is the first and most important resource in disaster relief situations. Unfortunately bottled water is heavy, expensive, wasteful, and only a temporary fix. The HydroPack by HTI and Eastman Innovation Laboratories represents something a smarter and more planet-friendly solution.
Did you know that floods account for more than half of all global disasters? A big problem in the developing world, floods can rise quickly and without warning, washing away entire villages within a few minutes. Aside from structural damages, floods also contaminate drinking water supplies, putting those with the strength to rebuild at serious risk for disease, dehydration and even death.
Designed by Oregon-based Hydration Technology Innovations (HTI), HydroPack is a paper-thin 4-inch by 6-inch pouch filled with electrolytes and nutrients that on contact with water, swells up over an 8-to-12 hour period to create a flavored, healthy drink.
“It doesn’t matter what the quality of water is like,” says Keith Lampi, vice president and chief operating officer for HTI. "There just needs to be a source of water, even dirty or brackish water, and we can supply clean drinks at the initial stages of a disaster using the HydroPacks.”
How Does The HydroPack Work?
"HTI uses Eastman's cellulose acetate as part of a proprietary process to make the HydroPack membrane in such a way that it has tiny pores which allow water to pass through,” explained Jos de Wit, senior research associate for Eastman. “Salts and sugars are unable to get through the HydroPack membrane. HTI used independent laboratories to show that the membranes meet or surpass reductions for bacteria and viruses as specified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for water purifiers."
The HydroPack uses forward osmosis, just like a tree sucking water up from the ground, to pull dirty water through the membrane.
The company claims that one helicopter full of HydroPacks provides the same amount of hydration as 15 helicopters full of bottled water. In crises where time and efficiency are of the essence, it's easy to see why this product could have a huge impact on rescue operations in remote areas.