Water filter for jerry cans wins the Dutch James Dyson Award

Interesting read: A frugal water filter

This article is an English translation of the Dutch article on Bright by Ingeborg van Lieshout.

Olivier de Gruijter (30), a former student at TU Delft, has developed a water filter that is both user-friendly and affordable. Its filter can be connected to a jerry can and removes all chemicals, dirt, parasites and bacteria from the water. And only costs five dollars. A solution that can provide millions of people with clean drinking water. He received the Dutch James Dyson Award for it in September 2019 and can win the international version of that prize in November.

The assignment for the price was simple: develop a solution for an existing problem. Former student of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft Olivier de Gruijter, who also worked on the first 3D-printed steel bridge by Joris Laarman, took this seriously after his journey through India.

A water filter is already necessary for a tourist to prevent the discomfort of a so-called 'Delhi-belly'. But the locals also suffer. “During my trip to India, I was amazed how many children suffer from dehydration or diarrhea from drinking contaminated water. Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death in children under the age of five. Because people depend on (polluted) water sources, water is transported with jerry cans. My big challenge was to develop a filter that can be used by everyone and fits every jerry can, "says Olivier de Gruijter.

The result is Jerry: a compact and user-friendly water filter that fits on a jerry can. The tap can be connected to all standard jerry cans that are used worldwide to collect water. The system contains three filters that remove chemicals, dirt and 99.99 percent of bacteria and parasites from the water.

The challenge

One of the most important elements in the process was finding a solution for cleaning the water filters. During the test, De Gruijter found out that this is too complicated for children even with a manual. To clean the filter, water must flush through the filter in the opposite direction. He found a way to implement this in the water tapping process, so that the filter is automatically rinsed clean after the tap is closed.

Every year the James Dyson Award (from the bagless vacuum cleaner) looks for technical and design talent that solves a problem. The international JDA winner will be announced mid-November - the prize for which Olivier and 19 others are still in the race.