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Drinkwell is transforming the world's water crisis into entrepreneurial opportunity by using a micro-franchise model to establish local water businesses in arsenic-affected areas. By providing affected villagers with water filtration technology and business tools, Drinkwell taps into the entrepreneurial spirit within these communities to create jobs, generate income, and improve health outcomes.

Research & Validation of Technology by Lehigh University

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Mitigating arsenic crisis in the developing world: role of robust, reusable and selective hybrid anion exchanger (HAIX)

Drinkwell's patented Hybrid Ion Exchange or "HIX" line of nanotechnology resins have been consistently removing arsenic and fluoride from groundwater to meet World Health Organization standards in the most challenging regions in South Asia thanks to its unique zirconium-based composition.

  • The zirconium-loaded resins are the first of its kind of the world which have a 10x higher affinity for selectively removing arsenic and fluoride relative to existing solutions.
    • Zirconium, the 21st most abundant element in the world, is stable, chemically innocuous and non-hazardous. Nanoparticles of zirconium oxide (ZrO2) have unique sorption properties to bind a variety of trace contaminants including arsenic, fluoride, phosphate and lead. We have developed a process to disperse ZrO2 nanoparticles within the gel phase of an anion exchanger with quaternary ammonium functional group. The resulting hybrid ion exchanger, referred to as HIX-NanoZr, is a robust sorbent material that is also amenable to regeneration and reuse. Both HIX-NanoZr and HIX-NanoFe are now commercial materials and over one million people around the world drink arsenic- and fluoride-safe water through use of these sorbents.

      Brackish water desalination plants are mostly located inland and must resort to expensive concentrate disposal methods like deep well injection or evaporation ponds. Increasing the recovery of RO process would obviously reduce the volume of concentrate to be disposed of but cannot be implemented due to scaling of sulfate (CaSO4, BaSO4, etc.) and silica (SiO2) resulting in fouling of RO membranes. We have developed a hybrid Ion Exchange-Reverse Osmosis (HIX-RO) process where tunable anion exchange resins can eliminate sulfate precipitation (2) and silica fouling without addition of external regenerants or anti-scaling chemicals.

  • 100% of HIX's raw materials are sourced locally, and a single batch of the resins can last up to 5 years before needing to be replaced.
    • This is a dramatic increase in lifetime relative to existing options which run for only 6-12 months.
  • To learn more about the HIX line of resins please view our product data sheets below: