A company called The Essential Element has designed a vehicle that not only provides renewable power in the aftermath of a natural disaster, but also purifies water, a resource that is often in great demand after an earthquake or similar incident. In the past, companies like WorldWater Solar have devised portable solar generators to power rescue efforts and a few months ago, Inhabitat reported that such vehicles would be aiding Pakistan’s flood victims. However the fact that Essential Element’s vehicle, known as the Hydra, provides both power and clean water to disaster areas makes it our new favorite disaster-response vehicle.
The Hydra is equipped with a 2.88 kW solar panel array that powers a pump that pushes water through its self-cleaning filtration system. At top capacity, the Hydra can deliver 87,000 litres of drinking water a day – a life-saving amount for areas of natural disasters, such as Haiti and Pakistan.
The solar panel also fuels the vehicle’s lead-acid gel batteries, which in turn run an electrolyzer that splits off some of the water to fill a .37 cubic-meter tank with pressurized hydrogen. This fuel cell can then be used to power communications systems, stoves and other equipment needed in humanitarian efforts. The Hydra is also easy to transport and can be easily broken down for easy transport, including PV mats that can be plugged into the device for extra power.
In Essential Element’s own words, the Hydra is a “revolutionary next-generation mobile power plant and water purification solution” that is the first of its kind on the planet.