Prof. Franz-Bernd Frechen
WaterBackPack PAUL is a community water filter system.
WaterBackPack PAUL (Potable Aqua Unit for Living) is a 20 kg transportable small-scale water purification system designed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. F.-B. Frechen to serve several families or a small village. This product was developed primarily for humanitarian responses. The filtration capacity of the system ranges from 1,200 L/day to 5,000 L/day, and it can provide drinking water capacity for up to 400 people. The system has a gravity-driven ultrafilter membrane with the ability to remove bacteria and viruses up to 99.99% i.e. log 4.
Africa, Asia and The Americas.
The unit price provided by Prof. Franz-Bernd Frechen is 1,730 USD (1,600 € ). Converted of May 2020 However, the total cost is estimated to be 3,700 USD (3,400€ ) including capital, operational, and maintenance cost for over 10+ years.
Goal 6 : Clean water and sanitation
Small communities, schools, hospitals, and corporate houses.
This product is mass-produced in Germany. The vertical flat sheet Ultra Filtration (UF) membranes are manufactured by Martin Membrane Systems AG, Germany; and the assembly is carried out in Kassel Disabled Workshop, Germany.
Users can either order the product directly from Prof.Dr.-Ing. F.-B. Frechen at the Urban Water Management Department of Kassel University, purchase it from WaterBackpack Company GmbH, or through the online market India Mart.
3,124 PAUL units have been distributed in over 85 countries, as of January 2020.
Is this filter designed for individual, household, or community use?
Manufacturer-specified flow rate (L/hr)
Laboratory-evaluated log scale removal rate of bacteria
Does the system use microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, or reverse osmosis?
Laboratory-evaluated log scale removal rate of viruses
Laboratory-evaluated log scale removal rate of protozoa
Reduction levels of heavy metals and/or arsenic through this treatment system
Manufacturer-specified maximum level of inlet turbidity (NTU)
Range or value of outlet turbidity levels (NTU)
Description of materials of construction
Is there safe water storage integrated into this product?
What is the total number of liters that is recommended can be filtered?
WaterBackPack Paul falls under the category of a small scale water supply system (SSS), as the flow rate is around 1200 L/day. The filter facilitates the treatment of a variety of water types, such as surface water, pond water, stormwater, rainwater, and groundwater. The filtration is done by an ultra-low pressure and ultra-filtration process, integrated with an organic PES membrane. The membrane has a cake layer control and is gravity-driven.
- Weight of 20 kg
- Dimensions of the system 0.4 x 1.2 x 0.4 m
- Membrane area of 9.5 sq.meters
- Membrane pore size of 35 nm
The filtration unit accommodates two ways of filtration:
- Bucket filtration
- Raw water or source filtration
There is no technical support provided and users are expected to maintain the product on their own. However, a well-articulated manual is provided as guidance for the installation and use of the product.
The filter does not require any extra replacement components for operation.
10 + years
This filter was designed to reduce bacteria by 99.999% and virus by 99.99%. Designer specified performance targets include lightweight, durable, portable, free of electricity, chemical-free, and faster in bulk filtration.
Testing performed by Institut Fresenius and Federal Environment Agency, Dessau/Roßlau determined this product removes 99.999% of bacteria and 99.99% of viruses.
This product has been tested by third-party organizations such as the Institut Fresenius, Göttingen, Federal Environment Agency, Dessau/Roßlau and the department of water resource in the Republic of Gambia. The unit has been also tested in the lab of the designer of the product, Prof. Franz-Bernd Frechen, at the University of Kassel, Germany.
No known safety hazards are related to this product.
Raw Water Storage Tank (SWT), Filtered Water Storage Tank (FWT), Overflow Protection Valve (OPV), Single Valve (SV), water meter and metal frames or concrete blocks for the tank storage are some of the complimentary technical systems used in PAUL unit for smooth operation.
Andrade, J. A. O, 2018, Small-scale water supply system (SSS) for remote and rural areas in developing countries: A case study of the use of Ultra-Low Pressure Ultrafiltration (ULP-UF) as main technology on a decentralized small-scale water treatment plant for remote and rural communities in Colombia. Kassel University Press GmbH.
Trinh, N. D, 2018, Development of a Decentralized Drinking Water Treatment Plant Based on Membrane Technology for Rural Areas in Vietnam. Kassel University Press GmbH, Vol. 42.
Frechen et al., 2011, Long-term behaviour of a gravity-driven dead end membrane filtration unit for potable water supply in cases of disasters. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, 11(1), pp. 39-44.
Quelch, J. A., 2016, Consumers, corporations, and public health: A case-based approach to sustainable business. Oxford University Press.
PAUL complies with the drinking water standard of WHO 2011 for the microbial test and also complies with SPHERE Handbook (2011) for the minimum standard in water supply regarding the basic survival water need for 3 liters per capita a day (LPCD).
This product has been evaluated for bacteria (99.999%) and virus (99.99%) reductions.
WaterBackPack PAUL received an Aqua Award in 2017 and a Green Tech Award in 2016.
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