Here in the U.S. we occasionally hear concerns about future water shortages, but drinking water is still plentiful. Elsewhere, it’s a different story. According to UNICEF, some 780 million people around the world lack access to clean drinking water.
As part of its efforts to raise funds to provide water purification tablets to those that need them, the organization has teamed up with the Gothia Cup youth soccer event and developed the “Sweat Machine”—a device that can extract sweat from clothes and turn it into potable water.
Participants and visitors at the Gothia Cup were asked to contribute their sweaty clothes during the tournament last week and, if they were willing, drink a glass of the resulting water. The group reported that more than 1,000 people have sampled the water, although cool weather in Gothenburg apparently reduced the available supply of sweaty shirts.
The machine was developed by Swedish engineer Andreas Hammar. The water extraction technology is from HVR Water Purification AB, which developed the equipment in conjunction with the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The machine spins the clothes to remove the sweat, then filters the liquid to remove salts, bacteria, and fibers.
“We wanted to raise this subject in a new, playful and engaging way. Our Sweat Machine is a reminder that we all share the same water. We all drink and sweat in the same way, regardless of how we look or what language we speak. Water is everyone’s responsibility and concern,” said Per Westberg, deputy executive director at UNICEF Sweden.
The International Space Station uses similar technology to turn urine and sweat into potable water.
You can see the Sweat Machine in action in the video below.