2012 Finalist: Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Technology And Innovation sponsored by Agrium Inc.
Company Creates Drinking Water at Point of Use Where There is Acute Global Shortage
When Mr. Chris Ramgopal was growing up in India it puzzled him that many children in his town went to communal wells for water because they didn’t have fresh water to drink. As he grew up and travelled he saw that the problem of fresh water supply wasn’t confined to his hometown.
According to international not-for-profit organization, Water.Org, 780 million people lack access to clean water. In developing countries across the globe women travel long distances daily to collect polluted water that may cause illness to their families and communities. However poor this water may be, it is the only source they have.
“At any given time about half the hospital beds in the world have people in them suffering from water borne illnesses, like cholera and dysentery,” says Mr. Ramgopal, President and CEO of Trilogy Environmental Systems Inc. “Over a billion people on the planet have no access to clean drinking water and sanitation. Knowing that inspired me to get into water business so I could make a difference.”
Mr. Ramgopal saw an opportunity to bring fresh water and greater prosperity to small towns in the Middle East, Africa and India.
“It gives me ultimate satisfaction to help the poor of the world by eliminating water-borne sickness and death,” he says, adding that the humanitarian, environmental and social responsibility aspects of his technology are as important as the commercial upside.
With 97.5 percent of the world’s water in the oceans, saline and seawater sources have the potential to quench the thirst of people and communities in need through desalination products such as Trilogy’s. Traditional water desalination systems offer potential for increasing the availability of fresh water worldwide, but they are not economical or easily portable for socio-economically disadvantaged communities.
The Trilogy Hybrid Water Desalination System’s (HWDS™) goal is to maximize fresh water output while using the least amount of energy possible.
This patented technology almost doubles the useable water and reduces energy consumption by about half at each stage of the process. This minimizes impacts to land, air and water and greatly improves its productivity and environmental performance. The innovative Trilogy HWDS prototype combines hybrid power systems and hybrid water treatment using advanced membranes and evaporator technologies. The compact, mobile configuration means the unit can be transported to most places on earth.
Further development of this local small business will help to grow Alberta’s economy. The export market for Trilogy’s product has the potential to create jobs in Alberta and Canada in the areas of design, manufacturing, business development and ongoing client services.
The first systems will be shipped to the Middle East, Africa and India. And Mr. Ramgopal sees a bright future for his company.
“We will work with reputable organizations, like the World Health Organization, to provide potable water to drought stricken regions of the world, while continuously improving Trilogy’s technology and become successful and sustainable worldwide.”
HWDS’s team comprises: Guity Ramgopal, project coordinator; applied research partner SAIT Polytechnic under the leadership of Vita Martez, Project Lead, SAIT and Water advisor, AACTI, E&E Communities of practice, design and development; Lifeng Zhao, chemist and Brian Brunning, principal investigator, the ARIS Water Group; Rafael Gay de Montella, project advisor; and students Michael Su and Deborah Powell, participants.