Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Startups Doing Good: How Urine Can Save Lives

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 5, 2013

Fosmo Med is a Silicon Valley startup using a technology called forward osmosis to dramatically reduce the costs of shipping IV bags used to fight outbreaks of cholera.

Here's more details and a plea to help fund the project:

Traditional one-liter IV bags used to combat cholera weigh about 2.3 lbs, or just under 38 oz. A new IV bag called Mali weighs about 2 oz. The difference? No water in the Mali bag, saving more than $500 on a shipment of 14 units to an African country. Once there, the Mali bag can be mixed with any kind of water, even urine, to create a sterile solution. Without water, it can also be shipped and transported more economically and benefit from a longer shelf life. This could save 100,000+ lives annually.

 The technology behind the bag is called Forward Osmosis (FO). Here's how it works: If you put a membrane between water and any type of salt, the salt will create a draw that will move water through the membrane. This process requires no power, as opposed to Reverse Osmosis (RO), which uses power to push water containing salt and other solids to produce clean water.

The FO process leaves the water with salt in its content. The salt in this case could be sodium chloride, sugar, potassium chloride, magnesium and others. This lends itself beautifully to IV solutions since most of these solutions require salt of some type to be injected into veins.

The manufacturer is trying to get some funding under a Philips Innovation Fellowship run on Indiegogo.

Here's more about the Indiegogo campaign and how Mali works:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-120-000-lives-from-cholera-deaths-around-the-world

 

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