The broad parameters for the P3 BioSand Bag Filter system came from a tribal elder in Ghana who had seen many well intentioned efforts from the west go awry for lack of practical design, understanding of the end user, replacement parts, etc. Through his son in America, Joe Lartey communicated that his country people in need required water treatment devices that were simple, and constructed of parts readily available in Ghana.
To be truly effective, devices could not require fuel or pumps or electricity as the people in need did not possess these resources.
…AND such a device would need to be within the means of the poorest of the poor. No bells and whistles.
Unsuccessful in gaining interest from the big players in the water equipment industry and with nowhere to go, inventor Don Kerr turned within. Using the step by step instructions on how a small company can use innovation and technology found in Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat, Don set out to develop an inexpensive and lightweight water treatment system comprised of inexpensive parts that were available worldwide. The idea was to use 3rd party logistics to collect the parts from within the country where the order was placed, consolidate and box them with instruction manuals at a location near or at a UPS, DHL or Fed Ex shipping hub for parcel delivery of the finished product.
The issue of what sort of vessel was flexible and lightweight enough to fold into a UPS box AND also strong enough to hold 5000Lbs (2270kg) of water and sand was the first challenge. One of Don’s friends had been working on a solution with no end in sight when several thousand pounds of dry chemicals were hoisted over his head in a “super sack” that met all the criteria for our vessel. The first step was accomplished!
But Don didn’t have a background in process level design for water treatment or new product development. Don brought the idea and conceptual drawings to Matthew Geho, a friend, neighbor and Lead Operator at the municipal drinking water plant for a small city, where he also managed the Water Chemistry Lab. “Do you have any idea what you have here!” exclaimed Geho, and another inventor was on the P3 BioSand Bag Filter team.
Learn more about How the P3 Works here.