The SmartBase field lab is developing the army camp of the future. About thirty entrepreneurs have been selected to develop innovations. The future base is developed on the basis of four core themes – energy, logistics, protection and water. The water project occupies a unique place within the field lab, and the eight participating entrepreneurs must also make their product suitable for military application. If the Ministry of Defense decides to purchase the innovations, it will be a springboard for the entrepreneurs to the foreign armed forces.
Entrepreneurs get their golden idea by bicycle. It happened to Jan Melein from Friesland while pedaling to Leeuwarden. That day there was something on TV about the Spanish flu, maybe he could wash something with his hands. Surely that should be possible with less water and without soap? Once at home, he smeared his hands full of butter. There was no way that fat went off. Until he sprayed boiling water over his hands with a plant sprayer. As with New Year’s Eve sparklers, he barely felt the hot splash on his hand. But the butter had completely disappeared. They were the first home-garden-and-kitchen experiments of an innovation now called the ‘Hydrowashr‘: put your hands in for fifteen seconds and you get them disinfected and dried back. Without soap, without towels and with only 30 milliliters of water per wash.
Water is an urgent problem for the military
Armed forces want to make army camps future-proof. Camps are still not very flexible, have logistical risks and leave a considerable footprint on the environment. It takes almost six months to relocate a camp for more than 500 people. Hydrowashr is one of seven water innovations that will become part of the military base of the future.
There will be an improvement in terms of sustainability. Local groundwater is used for showering and hosing down army cars. Ministry of Defense wants to keep the option open to leave water purification plants behind in mission areas.
Defense needs the entrepreneur
Armed forces asked for help from business community to reduce water consumption. Defense is the only armed forces in the world to collaborate with the business community in this way. Soldiers get the solutions that really benefit them, and entrepreneurs are given a unique opportunity to experiment. Dutch armed forces had been significantly cut in recent decades and overtaken by the business Community in terms of innovative strength. The goal was to reduce the water consumption of an army camp by 90% to make it more robust.
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Experimenting in a military context
Rotterdam company Rainmaker has developed an alternative to reverse osmosis as a water purification method. The innovative system can purify water independently of the local power supply. Rainmaker mainly aim at areas with a low infrastructure and can learn a lot from what military personnel encounter, according to Joost Oosterling of Rainmaker. The company has worked with another company, Bredenoord, to develop the technology for mobile systems that can supply energy all over the world. The system can work in 40 degrees Celsius in the desert, or at minus ten in the freezing cold.
Why working together is so difficult and why it still works
MoD and regional development companies have jointly led the water project. Innovation Quarter and the Northern provinces identify and bridge pain points between parties. According to Michiel “All water innovations form a chain: if one entrepreneur drops out, the chain collapses. And believe me, they could all have dropped out ten times already, every entrepreneur has a lot of time and money in the project,”. But regardless of our role as a driving force: “good entrepreneurs have a hand to bite where many others would stop“, “Regardless of our roles as a. driving force, good entrepreneurs will continue to give new energy to the project and quickly find solutions from our broad. network within government and industry” , If one Entrepreneur drops out,. the chain collapsed. It is then up to us to continuously give new energy to the. project and find solutions,” says innovation Quarter.
The new invention was a great help for the armies especially when there was no water in their camp. It can also helps people to save on water usage in their home like ‘flood restoration corona ca’ sleeps it to prevent water leakage in the pipes.