Mumbai is one of the largest cities in the world and half of its population lives in shanty towns with intermittent access to water and electricity. Indians can spend 30% of their income to buy water, Sold 10 times the price by the local mafias.
So Samit Choksi and Priya Vakil, two entrepreneurs living in Mumbai, decided after a few years spent abroad for their studies to achieve a clean and intelligent invention to optimize two natural climatic assets of their country: monsoons and sunshine and two indispensable and renewable resources: solar energy and rainwater harvesting. They launched their ThinkPhi start-up, which offers a sustainable product that can collect and purify water while generating electricity. The way to build something useful by using simple ideas and a natural lab.
Today called “1080W“, the model was initially named “Ulta Chaata” (“inverted umbrella” in Indian). Concretely, it looks like a big umbrella turned by the wind. While Priya with her expert knowledge of sustainable design and architecture searched for the best canopy design to use, Samit on the other hand, a software developer used technology to inverted the umbrella. The 1080W measures 4 meters high, with a conical wingspan of 4 meters by 4, which allows the collection of rainwater which is then directed towards the mast of the structure. The water is then filtered by a patented filtration system which reduces the TSS and organic materials in water according to OMS standards. The 1080W has been designed with self-cleaning properties so during the rain the filter removes excess dirt and can prevent acid rain.
Each year, 48,000 liters of water can be collected and filtered. You can add to that the supply of energy as the surface of the 1080W is indeed covered with solar panels meant to produce up to 1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh), the energy required to light a room or to partially recharge an electric car. In addition, production data can be tracked via a dedicated application, while being alerted if there is a problem. Then, the 1080W provides thanks to its special membrane a continuous cover between the awnings, very practical on the footbridges. With its light yet wind resistant structure, the 1080W can be installed in a few hours in your private or business space and requires minimal preparation. At the end of January 2018, more than 200 1080W models were already deployed in the country, recovering some 50 million liters of water a year and generating 337,500 kWh of energy.
But the ambition of the couple goes further. They developed a larger version of their invention, the 1080XL, for larger applications in stations, subways or tolls to maximize solar coverage and help cities reduce their footprint ecologically while beautifying their spaces with elegant structures. With a “wing” of 20 m2, this model would collect up to 1.2 million liters of water per year and generate up to 40 kWh of electricity.