New Water Purifier Runs on Solar

Imagine a single trailer-mounted device that turns scum into more than 20,000 gallons of pure water a day, stores electricity better than a battery, makes medical-grade oxygen, and runs on the sun.

A trio of inventors on May 20 unveiled the first working model of The HYDRA, a fuel cell-based device they say does all that, at a hydrogen-powered show house in Hopewell, N.J. They are taking orders at $99,500, and targeting the device at medical clinics, schools, remote communities, and disaster relief agencies.

“What we’re doing is using the sun to break water into hydrogen and oxygen, saving the oxygen for medical uses and using the hydrogen to power the fuel cell, which provides the energy to run the water purification system,” said Brad Carlson, chief operating officer of The Essential Element™, which is commercializing The HYDRA. “So it’s fully self-contained, needs no outside sources of power, and can be delivered to any point on the globe.”

Dr. Devra Davis, founder of the Environment Health Trust, said that "If The HYDRA specifications play out in the field by cleaning up contaminated surface water, and it provides stable clean water to communities, it would extend and boost the quality of life in many parts of the world."

Carlson said The HYDRA can be flown in by helicopter, dropped by parachute, or delivered on the back of a pickup truck. “It also gives water purification levels that are much purer, much cleaner than any other available,” he said, “so one of the beauties of this unit is that it can provide virus-free, bacteria-free drinking water in disaster relief areas.”

Peter Wernsdorfer, former director of Public Works for Allentown, Pa., commented that, "As someone who was responsible for providing clean water to communities during emergencies, I consistently faced the logistical challenge of fueling remote equipment. The fact that The HYDRA is a self-contained power and water purification plant changes the game. It will probably save lives the first day it is put into service." The HYDRA’s mobile solar/hydrogen fuel cell uses light-weight, low-power components and very fine water filters.

To see the device in operation, visit