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The world's first Sensor-Based Water Filter to Purify and Analyse Tap Water

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TAPP X (The world's first Sensor-Based Water Filter to Purify and Analyse Tap Water)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-08-31

The Problem and why it is important for society

Clean drinking water is essential for life on earth. We used to be able to take it for granted, but the agriculture and industrial revolutions polluted much of the fresh water sources around the planet. In Europe and North America most governments have taken action to prevent further pollution from happening and clean up contaminated water sources.

Nevertheless, many parts of the water infrastructure are outdated and updates are often only due on the basis of economic decision making. In general, investment in water infrasructure is not keeping pace with the challenges the EU is facing, such as the growing population, urbanisation and climate change. To cope with these challenges, the EU needs to double the sector’s annual investment of €45 Billion in order to modernise our infrastructure and protect health, the environment and reduce costs, while good water infrastructure safeguards supply, protects the environment and saves money for all in the long term.

Furthermore, not all drinking water issues though can be tackled by municipalities and water providers: many relate to pipes, leakage and contamination in private buildings and houses. Pipes get replaced over time but for instance houses built in the 1970s will not have their pipes replaced until the 2040-2070s based on standard replacement cycles. This implies that heavy metals, including lead, arsenic and tin, as well as other contaminants continue to become a serious risk for many homes and families for the foreseeable future.

Another issue is the measurement and collection of high quality data at a reasonable price. New, more accurate analytical techniques are developed continuously. Therefore, water quality can be measured highly accurately. But, it is still virtually impossible and way too elaborate and expensive to monitor tap water quality on a regular basis from multiple households. As a result, only scarce quality data is available on the consumers’ end of the tap.

As a result, people all over the world have started to drink bottled water, which ensures them a high quality of water and pure flavour.

In 2016, 480 Billion plastic bottles were sold which corresponds to about 1 Million bottles per minute, which is expected to grow with another 20% until 2021. This comes at a price however: plastic waste creates a high pressure on the environment and natural cycles, since plastic bottles are produced from non-degradable materials (mostly PET) and contain various toxic and carcinogenic substances, such as BPA and phthalates. In addition to this microplastics everywhere in nature is a rapidly growing problem.

Overall objectives and goals

For now, our short term goal is to lower the environmental impact of clean drinking water and replace at least 1 Billion bottles by 2020 by empowering people to easily get clean and healthy water from tap. Our long term goal is to replace other less sustainable water filtration solutions and the need for bottled water, eliminating at least 10 Billion bottles by 2023.

Our overall project objectives are the final development, integration and optimisation of the mini-sensors in the design of a user-friendly and robust water filter to prepare it for commercial launch.
This periodic report reflects the work that was performed in the project during it's first twelve months.

- We managed the technical and commercial activities, resource allocation and coordination with the EC and performed innovation management, knowledge management and worked on our IP protection strategy.

- We performed commercial activities where we designed a client development plan, a detailed commercialisation plan (strategy, market uptake and replication); an operation plan; and a financing plan for the market launch of TAPP X. Furthermore, client development, and dissemination activities with clients and stakeholders were performed. We were looking for post-project funding opportunities and developed our Go-to-Market Plan.

- We performed communication activities where we developed and started to implement a communication plan to promote the project and the product.

- We defined our Tapp X product specifications & requirements and exact feature development.

- We prepared our sensors for integration into the existing TAPP design, developed a first data aggregated chipset and developed our data platform (app development and optimisation).

- We prepared our prototype and manufacturing process to produce mini-series of TAPP X and to execute pilot studies and demos with users and complete lab testing and prepared certifications.
"Tapp X unique selling points and progress beyond the state of the art

1. Tapp X is monitoring the quality of the water and assuring customers they always have access to clean tap water.

2. Tapp X is providing the water quality of an expensive product but is easily to install without the need for a plumber which is a huge benefit.

3. Tapp X has biodegradable filter cartridges with zero plastic residue.

4. Tapp X includes a digital platform to monitor the water quality, the use of the filters, receive reminders resulting in a great digital customer experience.

5. Tapp X is a market product in terms of price, ease of installation and use - TAPP costs approx. 1/3 or less of main competitor products but with equal or superior functionality.

Expected results

The expected result of the project will be TAPP X, an innovative, sensor-based, IoT-ready faucet filter that purifies tap water and simultaneously generates fact-based data on the quality of the filtered water that can be managed via an App platform. TAPP X will be the first, real-time, fact-based information source about water quality at the consumers’ end, allowing them to monitor and improve water quality and the water infrastructure. Hence, TAPP X is the next step in providing affordable, clean drinking water to all, while creating awareness about water consumption and battling harmful plastic waste.

Potential Impacts

TAPP X supports the EU plastics strategy and UN Sustainability goals (on 3 goals directly: #6: Clean water and sanitation; #12: Responsible consumption and production; #14: Life below water), and is fully aligned with the recommendations from the World Economic Forum (WEF) studies on circular economy and utilisation of plastic materials.

TAPP X offers the best solution to these challenges since:

- It removes more than 100 known, common organic and inorganic contaminants from the tap water;
- It removes microplastics from tap water;
- It replaces bottled water with more affordable and sustainable drinking water, thereby saving money;
- It educates consumers about their tap water quality and consumption behaviour;
- It reduces water waste (3-6 times less than reverse osmosis) and identifies issues in the water infrastructure;
- TAPP X cartridges produce between 600-1,400 litres of clean water depending on the source water quality. With TAPP X’ approach, households can optimise the maximum volume out of each cartridge;
- It replaces plastic waste with each TAPP X (between 500-1500 bottles of plastic per year) adding up to over a 1 Billion bottles by 2021."
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