A regular shower should only take five minutes. Not counting teenage use, showering can use up to 70 liters of water. Water consumption for personal hygiene is extremely high in Europe averaging 160 liters per person per day. Increased prosperity and urbanization creates significant challenges in terms of water usage and sustainable development.

Mehrdad Mahdjoubi, a young entrepreneur, created ‘the Future shower’ as an industrial design studentat Lund University a few years ago. Today, as president of Orbital Systems, he has been ‘showered’ with awards.

The jury’s motivation in the Annual Technical Awards 2014, states: ‘Mahdjoubi and his technical expertise contributed to the development of an innovative, profitable, and environmental and climate-friendly business concept. The product supports an effective, sustainable society with an impact on the future such as job creation. Technically, the invention has the potential to extend beyond Sweden’s borders enhancing its image as an innovative country.’

Inspired by space travel

“The name Orbital Systems suggests space technology and this was the intention from the beginning. It started with a NASA joint project for developing patented water recycling technology,” says Mahdjoubi. “Water is notoriously scarce in space. It is a long way to Mars so astronauts have to reuse as much as possible. You could say that we took space technology back to Earth.”

“Our proprietary technology recycles water for domestic applications. A 10-minute shower uses about five liters of water, which is approximately 90 percent less than in a conventional shower. The water that flows into the floor drain is collected, purified and pumped back to the shower nozzle. Because the water is already heated the energy savings can amount to 80 percent,” continues Mahdjoubi.

The ‘Future shower’ includes the following technologies:

• Small amounts of water are distributed through a large nozzle. The water is quickly accumulated and purified.
• The purification process is instantaneous and perceived as a continuous flow of fesh water.
• An internal nano-sized filter removes particles, bacteria and viruses. The purification is so effective that the shower can be used in places with very high hygiene requirements, such as health care facilities.
• Sensors continuously monitor quality discarding the dirtiest water.

Swedish defense puts showers to test

“Our main focus is on applications with high water consumption like hotels, spas or gyms. One interesting application is the Swedish Armed Forces, which has purchased a few showers for a pilot project both for barracks-use and in the field,” says Mehrdad.

Water is a scarce commodity in many places in the world. By reducing water and energy usage, the Armed Forces can solve many logistics problems related to their environmental footprint thus bolstering local confidence.

Eco Shower in the home

“We see great future opportunities for homeowners and others to use our latest shower. The payback period for such an investment is shorter than for other energy-saving installations such as geothermal and solar panels. We designed the product ourselves and the first deliveries are expected during the spring of 2015. Water savings so far with existing pilot showers amounts to 700,000 liters. From a global perspective, the potential for water and energy savings is very large,” concludes Mahdjoubi.

The article was published in February 2015