Indian company Bharat Petroleum has announced plans to bottle purified waste water from the manufacture of hydrogen fuel cells, and sell it at it’s fueling stations across the nation.
In a country plagued by poor water quality and shortages across many regions, the company is keen to exploit high demand for pure bottled water. According to some estimates, as many as 1,600 Indians die every day as a result of water-borne diseases.
Bharat estimates that it will be able to produce 1 million metric tonnes of clean water for every 1000 MW of energy from hydrogen fuel cells. The state-run outfit has voiced tentative plans to establish a 1000 MW plant within the next three to five years.
On the surface, the venture might seem to be a remarkable example of market synergy, that also represents an intelligent and sustainable use of ‘waste’ water. However, as with most things, the picture is not as clear-cut as it seems. The bottled water industry has been criticized for the use of petroleum in the manufacture of bottles. Paradoxically, production also uses very high levels of water, with the Pacific Institute reporting that the bottling process uses two liters of water for every liter bottled.
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