One-Step Water Filtration for the World Ogiso Kentiku Co., Ltd. IP

Website: Ogiso Kentiku Co., Ltd.external link
Category: Machinery

The head of an architecture firm has created a unique means of providing clean water that uses recycled materials and native microorganisms

Bringing inexpensive, portable water treatment methods to poorer communities around the world can be a profound challenge. Some devices require chemicals that can be expensive or difficult to use or store, or have high power requirements. Ogiso Kentiku Co., Ltd. has developed an innovative means of filtering water, and one that has its own fascinating back story.

Naohisa Ogiso, President and CEO of Ogiso Kentiku, probably would not have learned about water treatment methods if it hadn't been for an enterprising police officer in Hanoi. As he explains it, the officer had come to his flooring factory to present him with some choices: start cleaning the wastewater that his factory was producing, pay a “fine,” or close the factory. He recalls, “The officer was just planning on collecting some money! He definitely didn't think I was going to put out the effort to figure out how to clean the water.”

Made from recycled plastic, this material helps drive the filtration "ecosystem" inside KIDS, courtesy of Ogiso Kentiku Co., Ltd.

An architect by training, Ogiso didn't have any background in water treatment, but through self study and seeking out advice from large Japanese manufacturing companies, he came up with a solution that was both effective and inexpensive. His water filtration system, called KIDS, is at heart a large plastic container filled with thin strands of recycled plastic that have been twisted into coils and tangled shapes.

Ogiso Kentiku Co., Ltd. President and CEO, Naohisa Ogiso

A Structure Built for Filtering

Microbes native to the region are put inside the container, whose larger structure resembles a sine wave when seen from the side. Some areas of the container are exposed to the air, while others are submerged; both sections house bacteria that can live in these environments. As Ogiso describes it, the container is “a built-in ecosystem for bacteria that can metabolize pollutants.” The microorganisms grow and multiply on their own in the tank, and remain alive indefinitely. KIDS has no need for chemical treatment or maintenance. Despite the simplicity and low power demands of the system, the combination of the filtering and microbial action is remarkably effective for removing pollutants and sludge.

After he was able to clean his own firm's water, other companies became interested in Ogiso's invention. He now sells the system to factories, hotels, and other resort areas, and sometimes donates it to poorer communities. It is also being used by about 50 plants in Japan.

Bringing Clean Water to the World

One of the things that Ogiso is most proud of is being able to bring clean water to communities in developing nations and avoid the pollution that happened in Japan when the country was in the throes of rapid industrialization some 50 years ago.

The technology behind the KIDS system can be used for free in Japan, while it has been patented in six countries: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia. Ogiso licenses the technology to allow local corporations to adapt the technology to their own needs.

For the future, Ogiso is interested in launching a filtration system that will remove odor particles generated by factories, a product that he would like to market in the US. But in the meantime, his immediate goal remains clear: “We want to clean the world's water.”

Based on interview in January 2016

This configuration of filtration material is known as ramen, and it is used for dirtier water, courtesy of Ogiso Kentiku Co., Ltd.