NGWA 2022 Grundfos – Team Mexico 2

Pure Panel

This is Pure Panel: A new technologycal system that helps save most of your shower wastewater.

An average a shower wastes around 46 liters of water, but depending on the pressure of the shower head, it can waste up to 150 liters per shower. This is an alarming situation considering the current water shortage crisis. Taking a bath is a daily activity for most of the population and sometimes is a relaxing activity. However, we may not consider how many liters we are using. Being aware and reducing our time in the shower as well as turning off the flow of water when it is not necessary is the first step to contribute to saving water; but recovering water from the room whose operation depends on the use of water is the second step, and do not worry, here is where we take care:

Our challenge

How can existing homes be retrofitted for the utilization of rainwater and reusing as much potable water within the household as possible, while maintaining water- and supply safety?

Reusing as much potable water within the household as possible should be a must, water scarcity is a worldwide problem. In Mexico, Monterrey, one of the most important cities in our country, is going through a drought that has led the authorities to cut off water to the population, where the city has been divided into 7 zones in which the pressure will be decreased one day a week from 9 in the morning. This does not seem to be a solution since there has been a greater demand for water due to the idea of storing it in containers for the days when the cut is made according to the area.

In this way, we detect a lack of supply and awareness about the scarcity of this resource. What could we do about it?

According to the government of Nuevo Leon the greatest use of water is in the shower, that represents a fairly significant volume of water, which ranges from 50 to 150 liters, depending on the pressure and time that the person takes to bathe. We obtained these data in a field study where we asked 100 people how long it would take to fill a liter in their showers. and the time they spend taking a shower. Read more here

Due to the lack of consciousness people have about the use of water, it is very difficult to achieve a considerable reduction in its use, nevertheless, what can we do about it?

Reuse it!

Giving a second chance to this amount of water will allow us to reduce the consumption of potable water that is supplied directly from the municipal network. What’s more, people get access to this resource even on days  when  it is not supplied. 

How do we know the waste water from our showers is viable to treat? We collected different samples from points strategically distributed throughout the city of Puebla, and from different population sectors, predominantly female, since it is the sector that tends to use a greater number of products for personal hygiene in a shower. We conducted lab tests in order to obtain a water characterization from these samples:

Results of wastewater characterization were obtained on March 23, 2022.

According to the results acquired, and after consulting with our Young Water Professional and College advisor, we concluded that according to the Chemical and Biological Oxigen demand, a biological treatment would be enough to treat the shower wastewater. In addition, it is cheaper than a chemical treatment. Through these months, we have been developing a wastewater treatment system based on microalgaes, where thanks to the nitrifying cicle they are capable of producing, microalgaes became the primary treatment for our porject.

Pure Panel

Get the most out of your shower

Pure panel is a wastewater treatment that stands out for its innovative vertical, compact, adaptable and customizable form.

We know your bathroom space can be limited, that’s why only ask you for 14 cm (about 5.5 inches) in order to start saving and reusing water. Getting the most out of the vertical space, this panel is mainly thought for shower wastewater and it can be adaptable to your wall, however because of its easy way of placement it can be also installed in the laundry room, the other service in the household that uses the largest amount of water in daily tasks. Making the system adaptable to every user space and needs.

How exactly does Pure Panel’s wastewater treatment work?

It’s a very simple process, first, the shower water enters through a pump into the first panel filling it up. There, the microalgaes start doing magic, or as we like to call it, the removal of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus from water. The microalgaes begin to consume the Chemical and Biological Oxygen Demand (COD & BOD) from the water and the nutrients it contains, but there’s also inoffensive bacteria living with the microalgaes, which consume the oxygen the algaes produce for nitrification. Then the bacteria produce CO2, which the microalgaes also use to nurture themselves, therefore, creating a cycle. 

Once two days have passed in the first panel, the water will proceed to the second one, where sedimentation will occur. It is a short process that consists of separating the solid material from the water in the time length of 1 hour. The water is almost done and ready to be reused, the only part that is missing is going through the filters of activated carbon, sands, and clay in the third panel, making the water cleaner and reusable. 

The concept of Pure Panel

Want to see Pure Panel in action? Click here to check the animation!


Maintenance is as simple as taking out the trash, we only ask you to purge the Microalgae by taking them out of the integrated drawer from the second panel where it will be already in sludge. Maintenance cycles are 10 days long, and require to take out about 250 gas of Microalgae. This residue is an excellent food fish due to its propertis and can also be food for any other animal contributing protein, In the event that a human ingests these microalgae, it does not represent a greater risk because they are not toxic.

Carbon, sands and clays filter: These filters are placed in a PurePanel filter bag, a bag with enough porosity for water to pass through them, but to keep the solids. In the event that one of your filters becomes clogged or reaches its life cycle, we have a solution! It is only necessary to change the PurePanel Filter Bag and easily replace the previous one so that your Pure Panel continues to work optimally.

Worried that the Pure Panel won’t look aesthetically pleasing in your bathroom? 

There’s no need to worry about that, since we offer 2 different aesthetics for the system, one where the whole treatment process is visible through a clear front panel and one where it is hidden utilizing 3D PVC panels that can combine with the architectural design of your bathroom.

Microalgae during its test time

120 people said

Once we had designed Pure Panel it was time to present the project to the public. We conducted a survey to 123 people asking questions about specific characteristics about our product and how it could work within their situation. Firstly, we wanted to know if they would reuse the water from the panels and for what activities, and we obtained the next data:

The 95% of surveyed people said they would reuse the treated water, the majority would use it for irrigation and flushing the toilet, while only some would use the water for floor cleaning, and a very small amount would reuse it to take a shower. 

In addition, we asked them if they were willing to give up space inside their shower for the installation of Pure Panel. A great majority agreed to place the system inside their showers, and a small percentage of the 120 people asked said they would not. These results prove that people are eager to place Pure Panel in their houses.

Save money, save the water

What’s better than helping to save the world water? To be rewarded for it: When a Pure panel system is acquired in a city where the water is over three dollars per cubic meter, the investment can be recovered within a period of 6 to 7 years, such is the case of Monterrey, Mexico.

We asked the same 120 people how much money they would invest in this system and the time they’d expect to recover their investment, being the main answers 500 to 1000 USD (our system is valued in 750 USD) and 6-7 years, respectively. Which is within the expected investment, and considering that water tends to be more expensive in other countries, the retrofit time is reduced.

Potencial users surveyed were also asked whether or not it was worth investing in this technology, and why. The answers were positive, the most popular being accepting that water scarcity is a problem that we must take care of. And we do, we are worried about it and with Pure Panel we invite you to join us to take action for today, and generations of tomorrow, in the end, the Earth is what we all have in common.

How much do I save?

Knowing the costs of the product and its payback time is great, but how much are you actually going to save with Pure Panel? Well, worry not, because we can assure you that your household economy and water suppliance will thank you. Doing some calculations with averages of how much water is consumed in the shower (around 30% of the total water used by one person) we were able to determined how much cubic meters of water per year are consumed in a house with five people, the amount of cubic meters Pure Panel can recover in a year as well the percentage of water that is saved per year in different countries. Not only that, but we were also able to compare how much money you’ll be saving each year if you had Pure Panel installed inside your house.

Different aspects that were considered for Pure Panel’s function and savings.
General information about Pure Panel, like the amount of cubic meters it can treat per month, as well as the amount of money it saves per month and year.
Here we can observe the cubic meters each year consumed in a house with 5 inhabitants, the cubic meters Pure Panel is able to treat every year, as well as the percentage of cubic meters saved in a year. There’s also a comparisson of the amount of money people would have to pay each year JUST from shower water without Pure Panel installed in their houses, and next to it, the amount of money they could save every year just from having Pure Panel in their houses.

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

-Robert Swan

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