UWTSD and Power & Water celebrate partnership with safe and clean water treatment donation to Oxfam


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) and Power & Water are delighted to mark the official launch of PURO, a joint venture partnership between the two organisations, by donating its first product to Oxfam.

PURO’s first commercial product is a drinking-water system which is being donated to Oxfam’s GB Global Humanitarian Team for their ‘In-country trial programme’ for Water and Sanitation starting in Bangladesh this month. The aim is to evaluate and fully understand how the unit would operate on various polluted watercourses; rivers and lakes and ponds.

The solar-PV based treatment unit uses Power & Water’s patented Soneco® technology combining electrolysis and power ultrasound for improved treatment.  The unit is chemical-free, using the power of natural sunlight which is converted into electrical energy. This energy creates reactive water treatment reagents which absorb contaminants from dirty water.

The system is well-suited to remote communities where road access and manual operation would be difficult and access to electricity restricted. The unit has a small physical footprint; the design is based on treating 2000 litres per day (that is 10L per head, for 200 people per day) for drinking, cooking and sanitation in emergency and longer-term humanitarian camps. The unit features simple operation, maintenance and can be moved by hand or easily transported in a vehicle.

This commercial project is unique in that, the idea for the all-in-one water treatment for small communities originated from a STEM 2015-2016 project Power & Water undertook with Bryntawe Comprehensive pupils. This project was brought to the attention of Oxfam who encouraged Power & Water to develop it further.

Andy Bastable, Head of Water and Sanitation for Oxfam GB Global Humanitarian Team has been involved from the initial discussions, through ongoing development work and has outlined the need for such a technology.

“As so many water treatment units, post emergency response or as part of longer term development, are lying idle in developing countries, Oxfam has been searching for a more sustainable water treatment technology that could be used for the long term and in rapid onset emergencies. The technology developed by the collaboration between UWTSD and Swansea Power & Water means that at a lower initial cost than other water treatment units, the operation and maintenance costs are reduced significantly as there are no water treatment chemicals beyond that of chlorine. The unit is also powered by solar energy reducing any diesel generator costs.

Andy added: “Oxfam believes this will be the lowest cost most sustainable portable water treatment unit available anywhere in the world. Oxfam is excited to be working with this collaboration to enable this technology to reach communities in all the salinity affected regions of the world. It could have a huge impact.” 

The exciting collaboration, under the brand-name ‘PURO’, strengthens a two-year relationship between UWTSD and the Swansea-based technology company, which brings together a wealth of experience in pioneering the design, development and manufacture of water and wastewater treatment solutions using electricity; with industry knowledge spanning over 40 years.

PURO evolved from the Integrated Master’s Course in Applied Environmental Engineering developed between Power & Water and UWTSD’s School of Applied Computing. This course offers students a ‘cradle-to-grave’ opportunity from defining an environmental problem to developing its solution including engagement with third-party companies, project and process management and an insight to the commercial world and entrepreneurship. Based at UWTSD’s Technium 1 in the SA1 Swansea Waterfront, PURO will focus on developing new, sustainable, clean-technology products and services to meet the rising global demand for safe, clean water worldwide.

The partnership is the latest to be undertaken by UWTSD as it seeks to co-locate and collaborate with industry in order to launch new initiatives and accelerator schemes to grow new and fledgling companies.  This initiative is taken forward ahead of the University’s new SA1 Swansea Waterfront development which aims to creating more opportunities for students to integrate their academic work with industry, to enhance their employability prospects after graduation.

UWTSD’s Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor, said: “The partnership with Power and Water is an excellent example of the way in which we are redefining our offer to ensure that our students and graduates are developing the specific skills needed by employers.  It signifies a step change for university education as it encourages co-ownership and co-creation of the curriculum.  Already the partnership is leading to exciting developments in the area of green technology and sustainable solutions which have the potential to be game-changers across the world.  I’m delighted that our first product under the PURO brand will be donated to support Oxfam’s life-saving work with the most vulnerable communities across the world.”

Professor Philip Morgan, CEO and Co-founder of Power & Water said: “PURO’s first commercial project marks a significant step toward increasing knowhow, ability and knowledge of researchers, end-users and developers; working together to bring ‘clean’ innovations into commercialisation. Working with Oxfam and having the ability to trial and test these products out in the field, alongside experienced engineers and advisors within the aid sector, is invaluable. PURO’s aim is to increase expertise in sustainable water treatment and to develop new products which satisfy this market.”

The University’s collaboration with Power and Water has seen an increase in the number of students undertaking the Integrated Master’s Degree course in Applied Environmental Engineering, with 90% gaining employment within the water industry.

Professor Morgan added: “Looking forward to 2018, our aim is to establish Puro as a world class centre for electro-based water treatment processes. It has been identified that there is a shortage of electro-chemical engineers and a limited understanding of the technology within the UK. To tackle this head on, PURO will be introducing and running the UK’s first Electrochemical Conference in the spring 2018. I am pleased with the interest and support we have achieved from external parties and this will continue to drive the success of Puro.”

Dr Stephen Hole, Associate Professor and Dean of Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering said: "The Applied Environmental Engineering Integrated Masters is one of several Faculty programmes tailored to the needs of local and national employers.  The Group Project module brings together engineers from different but complementary disciplines to work with Power & Water and the Water industry to create solutions to real life problems.  The strength of the programme is the collaborative work with employers and how well it prepares the students for graduate employment in the Water industry."


Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695
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Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk