Towards a better tinyhouse

Inventing to freedom?

Water recycling showers on the market (they don’t recycle all the water though)

with 10 comments

Sweet, check this out. These showers can recycle a large fraction of the water that is being used for them, according to the mfgrs, the Quench and the ecovea

I have no idea what the price is, as usual they don’t want to say, so I assume it is too much. Or maybe I should just say no price, no interest… in buyin it, anyway, but still would be interesting to know more about the sensors and filtration approaches used.

There seems to be another one in development here.

I had previously searched “water recycling shower” while thinking about a system that could be used at Burning Man, and not found much, dunno how I missed these. I think I wrote a blog post about it, I dunno.

After learning about water treatment technology for the greywater recycling system a while back (a bunch of blog posts around here somewhere), it became apparent to me that while we divide water in to blackwater, greywater, and potable water there are also many finer categories, there is “dark grey” water and “light grey” for instance. On the supply side, clearly you don’t need to demand the same level of cleanliness for the water you shower in as what you drink, though “potable” water is the category these are both usually lumped into.

So if you had a separate water recycler unit for the sink, the shower, the dishwasher, etc. that could make the recyclers easier to build, because the variety of contaminants you need to remove from the water is reduced, and the water does not have to be cleaned to the same high level. Not drinking or cooking with the water from the recycler could help a lot too. If urine is recycled you could use the water to compensate for evaporation in the other systems, not drink it. Hypothetically the cost could be lower because the system as a whole does less treatment so you buy less stuff, but the cost could wind up not being that much lower anyway, in reality when the treatment capacity of the parts etc. are whatever is available and probably too big and therefore expensive,or one big filter doesn’t costs much less than 3 third-size ones….

The Russian space station MIR apparently used this segmentation approach to some degree. The different water streams were treated and then stored and used separately, but the International space station combines all the water streams including urine (but not the water from feces which is only 200 ml per day) and then treats it all to drinkable level. Mind you both their budgets are a little higher than ours… You can find some documents if you search this blog about the ISS water recycling system, that describe in some detail how it works.


Written by gregor

January 3, 2011 at 19:27

Posted in Uncategorized

10 Responses

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  1. I’m going to start divulging some of the angles of approach on slate for use in tree saucer systems as per Gregor topic…that way things are grouped in topic, and at cons you are pre-familiarized with the current approach…….the saucers are integrated, so a concept may not be applicable do to conflicts, but that doesn’t mean i wish at all to limit conversation in any way…….or more simply, an expression of how it relates, or does not relate to the tree saucer effort….

    a saucer will have three water heaters, all to specific design, they are on demand point source Cu foil coil induction, Cu plated 99% iron rod in tube….each with it’s own power supply, a 48v 120kHz square wave oscillator who’s mosfets are heat sinked to the 1/2″ supply pipe just before expanding to the 1″ pipe section containing the iron rod….the three units will have identical axial diamentions, but different lengths relating to 1.2 gpm, 0.8 gpm, and 0.4 gpm…. the shower is a timed on/ habit forcing system, which will be included in the fist of an automated sequential power lock out controlled by the battery monitoring system….

    another somewhat on topic area of focus, as yet undeveloped includes this…

    and subsequent fuel cell…



    January 3, 2011 at 20:57

    • Cool Rulgert, yes, I am interested in hearing about the details of the saucer project. To tell you the truth, I am not so sure that doing everything so customized makes a whole lot of sense, though. I mean is an induction water heater any better in any way than a resistive one? Also using electricity to heat hot water tends to be pretty expensive.


      January 4, 2011 at 19:55

  2. So this means no more peeing in the shower?

    Good concept, but I believe some of the beauty of a tiny house is simplicity. My father always drilled in my head that more features are just more things to maintain and have problems with. I guess if you had a need for even more water use reduction…such as your Burning Man.

    I have not partaken in the movement myself yet, however, I recently saw a video study of normal water use vs. water use when changing habits/being measured. It involved a simple faucet, and measured water use for a week or so. Later, an aerator was applied, a foot pedal for activation, and when water use was visually monitored, consumption decreased by a dramatic result. Possibly 80% or something. It was a small study, and did not factor in how much the faucet adaptations effected use without being monitored as well. I hope this makes sense.

    In addition, the longevity of this project would be to not effect our day to day comforts, such as a reduction in water use. Rather for myself, I would just change daily habits as a primary source of water longevity (assuming not done to the max already). I also would be concerned of the build up or corrosion in the light grey water system…I don’t want to replace plumbing every few years. Time will tell.

    Nice Blog, I’ll be working at the time of the next VirtualTinyHouseConference 😦

    Hope to make it in the future.

    Oh, and hydrogen from pee would be amazing.

    Agent K

    January 4, 2011 at 04:12

    • Yes, I totally agree, there are a wide variety of ways to save water, many highly effective and a lot cheaper than this. I agree with what is said in the article about the Quench, too about this not being worth much if you already don’t use much water. But still, it’s interesting technology.


      January 4, 2011 at 19:50

  3. Hi, I’m responsible for business development at Reveeco and I think I might add a little information about the EcoVéa.

    – There is no price on the website because the company hasn’t start selling the product yet. It will be available around summer/fall 2011, and the retail price will be around 2 800 USD. Depending on the region where you are located (and the applicable water and electricity tariffs), the payback period can vary from 1 year (Denmark), to 2 years (France), to 4.5 years (Canada).

    – The cell included in the EcoVéa shower base is very sensible and will detect any soap, urine, or blood. The water that is reused (after being analyzed to determine if it’s soiled or not) is also filtered and treated (with an UV lamp) to further purify it. Therefore, the water that goes through the shower head is of drinkable quality at all times. (So yes Agent K, you can still pee in the shower, without any risk of it being recycled…!)

    – Also, you should know that the EcoVéa is an automatic system. The user does not have to change any of his/her habits. He doesn’t even “notice” the system.

    Best regards, and stay tuned for the official launch in 2011.

    Pascal R.

    January 5, 2011 at 13:47

  4. Hey thanks for the information, so it’s UV eh? Cool. Still, too expensive for me I’m afraid, but then it doesn’t matter much who buys it as long as you can sell them to someone they can still have a positive environmental impact.

    However maybe you are on the business side of things so you might not know, but it is not accurate to say it is drinkable quality. If there are no microbes that is the main thing, but there will still surely be chemical contaminants, no matter how sensitive the sensors are or whatever.

    Yes, it did occur to me while reading the comment about peeing in the shower that from the description it sounded like the system would probably have no difficulty handling that and it would actually be fine.


    January 5, 2011 at 19:49

    • i have to remember to check the follow-up box…..sorry….just pulled in to anouce that the pee to hydrogen to fuel cell is far enough below unity to not justify the water savings or the extra equipment by a long shot….so that is perma diched..

      the inductive water heater is still a go, and is a fairly polished design…the compactness and efficiency will far exceed an element type (ee-max style) water heater…(you may say to your self, How can it be more efficient?)…ok here it is and i’m not going to explain it again…

      saucer power storage is at the 48v nominal level, if i where to use paralleled elements the apparatus would be exceedingly large..i could use and ee-max but that would require an inverter of enormous proportions…either way i would have a ridiculously high source resistance…get it?

      the inductive water heater will be smaller, more efficient, and less costly to produce… can argue all you want to, but that to me is a solid go..(see previously mentioned reasons)


      January 21, 2011 at 08:22

      • oh, and also a correction for my mental fumble under strain of a migraine headache at the last con…

        i dug up my water heater notes, and the coil will be floating( electrically speaking )..i’m in the market for an electrically insulative and thermally conductive film, to roll in with the Cu foil, apparently my choices are not very limited.



        January 21, 2011 at 08:46

      • You should start a blog or something, Rulgert. Also, you can get DC 48 volt instant water heaters I’m sure. No need for an inverter then. And yes I understand your explanation, I’m not an electronics whiz, but I know this much. Of course don’t take that to mean any pressure or anything, just thought since you brought it up again I’d add that.


        January 21, 2011 at 16:27

  5. I’m moving fairly fast on stuff, so i do appreciate having someone to check my work…i just figure it’s my job to let others know when they are swinging their bat at flies and not focusing on the ball…..and i need that to sometimes, i do…and i will do my best to recognize this should the tables be turned…

    and thank you for calling my attention to the gas permeability issue regarding the poly-carbonate….i didn’t expect you to do an annalisis, and i was impressed that you did, and that your work was accurate…this is why i consider you a confidant, you have shown interest in the effort, and have contributed…and i do appreciate it…i do.



    January 21, 2011 at 17:13

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