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The Red Ferret Product of the Year 2008 – Ethical/Green – Watercone


The Watercone water purifier first made it to our attention back in 2007 in prototype form while hunting for financing, but it wasn’t until August of last year that the company received the money it needed to go commercial. This deceptively simple device can take salty or dirty water and transform it into fresh water in a matter of hours. The makers say it will deliver up to 1.7 litres of fresh water a day which is a superb achievement for a small, simple device which needs no power or expensive maintenance.

As an example of how low-tech can sometimes deliver a huge benefit to our small planet, the Watercone is hard to beat and we’re delighted to have this chance to make it our ecological product of the year. The product is due to go into mass production this summer, at a target price of below €20.00 which makes it a great fit for developing countries or organisations who wish to fund distribution to poorer areas.

 There were actually fewer products vying for this award than we’d hoped. There were a couple of interesting products, like the BioBot biofuel converter from the UK and the Solar Stik from the USA, but in general what we got were a lot of solar powered gizmos for fairly trivial use. If there is a standout that deserves mention it’s the Progressive Automotive X Prize which is a $10 million challenge for the first company to produce a production ready eco vehicle which can deliver 100 mpg or equivalent with a reasonable range for 2 to 4 passengers. It’s not a product, but as an ecological initiative, it’s a great start to encourage small firms to think about greener transportation in general.

Anyway congratulations to the Watercooler, let’s hope 2009 gives us a few more serious contenders to choose from in this area.

  The Watercone is a solar powered water desalinator that takes salt or brackish water and generates freshwater. It is simple to use, lightweight and mobile. The technology is simple in design and use and is discribed by simple pictograms. With up to 1,7 liters a day the Watercone is an ideal device to cover a childs daily need of freshwater. UNICEF: “every day 5000 children die as a result of diarrhea coused by drinking unsafe water”

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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Managing Editor:
Nigel Powell

Deputy Editor:
Donyae Coles
Editor at Large:
Dan Ferris
Senior Ecological Editor:
Debra Atlas
Senior Motoring Editor:
Nick Johnson
Reviews Editor:
Simon Bossuyt

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