Chennai-based Elixir H2O is offering ‘purest’ drinking water at Rs. 3 a liter.
Akhilesh S Unnithan, Head Business Development, ElixirH2O, shares how they got here and how they are able to make it affordable with SustainabilityNext on the sidelines of a conference on water and sanitation organized by Bangalore-based Nispana.
Please give a sense of technologies in the air to water machine? Is yours a first time invention?
There are many technologies available worldwide for converting humidity in the air to drinking water. Many are at the university stage with very less chance of commercial feasibility.
Atmospheric Water Generation technologies have been around for two decades and there are over 100 companies directly and indirectly working on this technology worldwide. Fortunately, or unfortunately, there are only a handful who are successful.
Ours is not the first and is not the only technology but surely it is the most refined of the lot to be used even inside homes. Our goal is to make this technology accessible to even the lower income groups because water is not a luxury.
Is the technology in-house? And have you filed for global patent?
The concept of converting humidity into drinking water is the same everywhere and the technology lies in doing this efficiently. The most important part is the air and water filtration, which we have done in-house based on Indian conditions. We ensure safest and cleanest drinking water in the country as per government approved NABL accredited lab reports.
We have partnered with a US-based company, currently the most successful company in the world for AWG (Atmospheric Water Generation) technology. They support us with their know-how and technical expertise in water generation whereas we bring in our expertise in air and water filtration.
We decided to work together in refining it to such levels that it can be used inside homes. We have worked on various designs and are still working on few futuristic concepts to make it even compact and affordable for Indian consumers.
The website and the brochure does not mention acquisition or the capital cost of the products – if capital cost is included along with cost of power – how does the cost per liter work out – say over a period of 5 years.
This is an interesting question. Let me make it as simple as I can.
The base model for home use is available for a monthly EMI as low as Rs. 1768 for three years. What this means is, per liter cost for the first three years will be Rs. 4.66 and from the 4th year, it will be Rs. 2.15. This includes the capital expenditure on the machine, electricity cost for generating water and the maintenance cost for the above mentioned period. This is assuming 75% efficiency which is easily possible in most of the Indian cities as per the weather data collected over the last few years by our research team.
Cost per Liter (Water generation) – Rs. 2.22
Cost of maintenance – Rs. 3000 (Annual – filter change required only once)
For people who prefer the direct purchase model, the base machine will retail at INR 55,000.
We have 3 residential models, 2 commercial models and 5 industrial models which covers the entire spectrum of requirement starting from 16L per day to 5000L per day.
Are you working on a lease or loan model to get higher orders?
This is an option we have worked out for few of the corporates requiring our industrial machines.
What is the current capacity of your plant – how do you plan to ramp up?
We currently work on a ‘made-to-order’ basis. It is a new market that needs to be explored. AWG is something that cannot be sold like any water purifier. This is not a water purifier but the creator of the source itself. Our lead time for manufacturing residential models is 4 to 6 weeks for big orders and 8 to 10 weeks for bigger machines. All this depends on the availability of parts based on the order. We are already in talks with our distributor network which is being set in place across all states in India. Once we have that in place, we will have a monthly production schedule in place.
Does the water also kill useful bacteria just as it does in RO?
Our machine goes through 13 stages of purification which involves 3 stages of UV, UF, RO and a 11 stage anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, Alkaline filtration technology which is first of its kind in India.
The water quality has been certified as one of the safest and cleanest drinking water available in the country with absolutely no comparison to any bottled mineral water available today. The generated water is not just pure drinking water but is anti-oxidant rich alkaline water with a pH of 8.5 to 9.5 which has got a lot of health benefits. It helps in hydration, acid reflux, stomach bloating etc. It reduces the risk of cancer, arthritis etc. It flushes out the toxins in the body and eliminates the free radicals surrounding the cells thereby slowing down the ageing process.
By how much degree Celsius does the AWS reduce in the room since it humidifies?
Our AWG requires a minimum of 15 degree C and 30% RH to function smoothly. To answer your question, our machine de-humidifies the room where the relative humidity (RH) surrounding the machine would be 3-5% less compared to the surrounding areas. In a properly ventilated room, it is not possible to completely de-humidify. In a closed room with air-conditioner, it is possible to reduce the RH up to 8-10% in controlled conditions.
Please explain the extent of air that the machine cleans in a typical room.
Our residential units can clean a room with dimensions of 12ft x 8ft x 10ft effectively. This is based on the PM 2.5 and PM 10 readings monitored before and after the running of the machine. A simple test is to run the machine for a few days and then take out the air filter and use a vacuum cleaner to suck the dust to get a real time feel of the dust and particulate matter collected from that room which was not visible to your eye prior to running the machine.
What’s the average cost of the machines
Currently the smallest capacity machine that is production ready is 30L and we are working on a table top 16L per day model which will be out soon. The highest capacity that we have designed is 5000L per day. The cost of the 30L machine (base model) starts at Rs. 55,000.