The Coca-Cola Company has partnered with Deka Research & Development Corporation to deliver millions of liters of clean drinking water to schools, health clinics and community centers in rural regions of Africa and Latin America in 2013.
The two companies will partner with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group and Africare to bring Deka’s Slingshot water purification technology to countries in Latin America and Africa, respectively.
Longer term, Coca-Cola and Deka say they will form additional partnerships and install thousands of water purification units in India, the Middle East and Asia. When fully scaled, the companies expect the partnership to add more than half a billion liters of clean drinking water per year to the global water supply.
Deka’s Slingshot water purification system (pictured) uses a vapor compression distillation system that runs on low levels of electricity. The system boils and evaporates any dirty water source — river water, ocean water and even raw sewage — and then allows the pure water to condense and be collected.
One Slingshot unit can purify up to 300,000 liters of water each year, producing 10 gallons of clean water an hour while consuming less than 1 kW of electricity, according to Deka.
The unit can be plugged into the local grid or can be powered by other locally available and renewable power sources such as solar cells or batteries.
Before entering into this partnership, Coca-Cola and Deka conducted a field trial of the Slingshot technology at five schools outside Accra, Ghana, in 2011, providing 140,000 liters of clean drinking water to 1,500 school children over a six-month period.
According to the companies, the Slingshot systems experienced very few issues and were able to operate based on the available electricity supply, working despite frequent power outages in the villages where they were located.
Coca-Cola says the global clean-water partnership is another step toward the company’s goal to replenish 100 percent of the water used in its beverages and their production by 2020.
In June, Coca-Cola was among a group of 45 international companies that agreed to set targets on their own water efficiency and wastewater management in factories and operations, and called on governments attending the Rio+20 Earth Summit to make global water security a top priority. Coca-Cola, along with Anheuser-Busch InBev, PepsiCo and Intel are among the 27 percent of companies assessed that made the connection between climate change and water risk in 2011, up from 10 percent in 2009, according to a report from Ceres.
The company has also developed a beverage process water recovery system that can reduce a manufacturing plant’s water use by up to 35 percent, and has pledged to improve water efficiency 20 percent by the end of 2012 compared with a 2004 baseline.