LIFESAVER: World’s First Ultra Filtration Water Bottle

by , 05/29/08

Lifesaver bottle, Lifesaver filter systems, Well Tech Awards, Milan 2008, Michael Pritchard, Soldier Technology, design for health, humanitarian design, water filtration system, Lifesaver filtration system, lifesaver1.jpg

Over the years, Milan has evolved from merely hosting a furniture fair every spring to having almost every street taken over by all types of innovative design every April. This year, sustainable design joined in the fray more than ever, with many exciting exhibits highlighting socially conscious design, including the Well-Tech Awards. At this inspirational show we discovered the Lifesaver bottle – a beautifully simple concept for portable water filtration, and one that could make a real difference to a world increasingly threatened by shortages of clean, drinkable water.

Lifesaver bottle, Lifesaver filter systems, Well Tech Awards, Milan 2008, Michael Pritchard, Soldier Technology, design for health, humanitarian design, water filtration system, Lifesaver filtration system, lifesaver2.jpg

The Lifesaver was developed in response to natural disasters such as 2004’s tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. The concept is relatively simple, based upon the fact that the smallest virus is 25 nanometers across, so by using a filter with holes 15 nanometers across, all nasties can be trapped without the need for chemicals. The term ‘nasties’ is actually quite an understatement. Lifesaver can filter out bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and all other microbiological waterborne pathogens. And in the real world, of course, the bottle was much harder to realize than we’ve described it. The bottle is the world’s first ultra filtration water bottle, and the inventor put all of his life savings into developing it.

But it was this level of development effort that has brought about a product that is exceptionally easy to use. Fill it with water by unscrewing the base and dipping it in the nearest puddle or stream, screw the base back and use the pump to force the water through to a teat at the other end. The clean water can then be drunk directly or poured into a separate container for storage. These simple instructions make it suitable for use by children, and in developing countries.

The unit uses replaceable filters, which can treat about 4000 liters of water – five and a half years of usage if you drank 2 liters every day. The filter is speedy, too – 750ml of water can be prepared in just under a minute. And users can rest safe in the knowledge they’re getting maximum life out of the product without poisoning themselves, as the unit has a unique feature to shut itself off when the cartridge has expired.

Costing £230 ($460), the Lifesaver isn’t exactly cheap, but it is a world first, and we’re sure the price reflects the genuinely innovative R&D that went into its development. Not only was it featured at Well-tech, it won ‘Best Technological Development for Future Soldier System Enhancement’ at Soldier Technology 2007. It’s ironic that a design that can bring world peace can also support world conflict, but here’s hoping it’s used for the former rather than the latter.

+ The Lifesaver Bottle

+ Well-Tech Awards

+ Well Tech Awards @ Inhabitat

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  1. LIFESAVER March 8, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Thank you for your comments! The bottle is in use all over the world including the MOD, with the Red Cross, Oxfam and many more world wide organisations including key countries such as Pakistan, Haiti and Malaysia. If you would like to find out more information, please look at

  2. Curious Consumer January 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    The press is really good on this, BUT where EXACTLY is it ACTUALLY in use? I’m not talking about the few who have gotten it to review or the few of the “must have it” techno chasers, but rather where in the real world is it in use? I ask because it sounds too good to be true and when things sound like that, they usually are. I mean if this thing is so great why isn’t it in use Haiti right now?!

  3. drasticgross September 25, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    As with all good/great ideas – they are usually expensive to begin with in order to recoup the cost of the R & D, which means the cost will come down the longer it’s out there. And rather than say “pity, it’s too expensive or that “someone” should start a charity to distribute it, WE all can take steps to make these things happen if WE (includes me!) take the time to look around for those options and just do it! There are children 4th graders – 10 yr olds who have heard about things like this and said – “I can do something!” and they have raised thousands of $$ to dig wells in Africa and many other things.
    These people have invented something really good – if nothing else – let’s spread the word!
    Check out “” for simple ways we can all do something in many different areas.

  4. livingwater4all August 20, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Still some un-answered questions about the LifeSAVER water bottle:

    1. Lab. test results about reduction by UF just a few liters! What about up till 4000/6000liter?
    2. Reduction of heavy metals by activated carbon is NOT possible! (only chlorine and organics)

    Pitty, TOO expensive for 3e world humans! Decadent?

  5. McLawdog August 4, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    The price is only $149 US at the moment for the 6000 liter model.

  6. andie May 16, 2009 at 12:25 am

    hey! i wanted to invent that!

  7. lalalauren January 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    this seems like a great idea, but not very useful to those who need it the most.

    just wondering, is there any sort of charity that helps raise money to send these bottles or something like them to people in countries with no clean water?

    if not, is there any way to get that started?

    this is a great product, but useless if those who need it can’t afford it.

  8. lalalauren January 24, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    this seems like a great idea, but not very useful to those who need it the most.

    just wondering, is there any sort of charity that can raise money to give these bottles to people in countries with no clean drinking water?

    if not, is there any way to get one started?

    i just think this seems like such a valuable item, but useless if it can’t be distributed.

  9. avidhiker December 19, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    It appears to be a little more convenient to use than the numerous “extreme” water filters available on the market for far less money, but I detect a significant design flaw. To use this, you dip the entire unit into the water, thereby getting any nasty germs, viruses, etc. all over the exterior of the container. So, if you didn’t have the lid over the drinking teat closed perfectly — or if it leaks at all — you’ve contaminated the unit. Even if the lid works perfectly (and the child or other user *always* remembers to keep it tightly covered), the entire exterior of the unit is contaminated, so the person who handles the unit will have contaminated hands.

    I’ll keep using my water filter with its tubes which I can isolate in “clean water” and “dirty water” bags. It also works even if the water source is only about 1/2 inch deep, while this bottle must be dipped much deeper into the water source to obtain much water to process.

  10. matt b November 28, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Actually twiterbee they can, this is how drinking water is treated before getting the final does of Cl2, which in thurn reduces the amount of Cl2 needed preventing the formation of trihalomethanes. It is a reliable simple process which is cost effective compared to UV or chemical treatment.

  11. twiterbee August 12, 2008 at 1:32 am

    It cannot possibly remove viruses and disease. That has got to be a false/misleading statement.
    They cannot be removed by filtration.

  12. The Lifesaver Bottle; S... May 30, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    […] may be putting the case too harshly, because as the Inhabitat blogger mentions, that price must be representative of tremendous R&D investment, and genuine progress is […]

  13. earthsaver May 29, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Actually, the 4000 L bottle is 195£; while a 6000 L bottle is 230£.

  14. Androo May 29, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    I wonder if this product could benefit from the mantra “good is good enough.” Rather than perfect, that is. While it is an impressive tour de force of engineering development, the $460 price tag must cause sticker shock to nearly everyone. Existing commercial water filter bottles, or even the LifeStraw, may not completely purify water – but you can buy 150 LifeStraws for the price of 1 Lifesaver. And even the LifeStraw is too expensive for those who truly need it.

    As with uber-supercars like the Bugatti Veyron, it’s an object that has lost all relevance in its pursuit of the ultimate.

  15. M2JL May 29, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Smart and well done :)
    @ Zyde: I think the “dirt” is carbon, as part of the filtration system. There’s a company called Aquaovo that uses something similar for the filtration of their eco friendly water distributor. (

  16. Brian Lang May 29, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I believe the “dirt” you’re seeing is the pre-filter disc as labeled in the 4th image.

  17. zyde May 29, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    wow this is amazing, it would change the world. But i dont understand the photos, how come theres dirt in it? Is that part of the filtration process?

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