Table of Contents

Great Progress for Water Filters!

Nick and Rina removing microbe samples from the incubator

The Progress

We have made so much progress! Transferring ceramics knowledge for water filter production to Indonesians is the major goal of my one-year service to Friends Peace Teams and SHEEP, May 2011-May 2012. The past year has been very rewarding! We are well on our way in that long path of technology transfer.

 

 

Showing our kiln to a raw material supplier

Visiting other water filter facilities in Asia impressed the rarity and significance of transferring both the knowledge of ceramics and the skills to apply that knowledge. In other facilities, local people provide day-to-day labor, but do not provide the technical direction to test, adjust, solve problems, assure quality, troubleshoot or improve the product. In our work we are teaching and creating the capabilities for SHEEP to be able to do these advanced aspects of the work.  Such learning is slow. To do this, Friends Peace Teams has invested in; improving language and communication, building a working team, coping with staff turn-over, clarifying ownership of and responsibility for equipment, and much more. These investments built the facility to learn and retain that learning. Because of our low budget and Indonesia’s lack of ceramics equipment suppliers, I worked with the Indonesians to build much of the ceramics processing equipment from scratch. We have built and staffed both a microbiology laboratory and a ceramics laboratory. Technicians are now capable of: 1) basic research, 2) prototype design, 3) problem troubleshooting, and 4) microbiological testing for both research and production.

First experiment ready to go inside the kiln

Ceramic water filters have been produced and promoted throughout the world for over a century, yet basic research on engineering variables of ceramic water filters is not publicly available.  Publishing research on filter variables and the prototype will be the next phase of technology transfer. The goal of the research is to learn about the basic variables of both the ceramic and the catalyst that kills bacteria. Documenting the research we are conducting to design, develop, and produce water filters will provide a valuable reference for others working in the field. Currently I am preparing to return to the U.S. after one year of service, and SHEEP is running experiments, acquiring data and preparing to publish the research results. This first round of formal research is in full swing and scheduled to run from April through August, 2012.  In August when the first round of research is in, we will use the information as the basis for a prototype.

 

Meet The People:

Rina and Toni enjoying the results of the first run of the ballmill.

Rina and Toni enjoying the results of the first run of the ballmill.

As we conduct this research we are training two highly capable Indonesians: Rina Yulia Wijaya (Ibu Rina) and Abdul Munir Roi Alfatoni (Pak Toni).  They are both like sponges, absorbing information and skills.  Let me introduce them.  Rina is one of the founders of our partner organization for this project: SHEEP.  She is currently conducting lab research and managing the labs.  She is very capable and is the ideal person for providing direction for the work.  She is also a tireless champion for the work.  Last time I visited her and her husband Dimas, I was surprised that Dimas grilled me with questions about the water filters, “how do they work”, “why would people want this type of technology,” “how much will they cost?” After answering a few of these questions, I realized that Rina’s enthusiasm is so great that it is spilling over to her friends and family.

Inspecting the finished product

Toni is a bottomless well of excitement and encouragement.  Toni is very technically accomplished, previously making a hovercraft with some of his friends, and pioneering the production of bamboo charcoal from his home.  To make the charcoal, he first had to acquire the knowledge and then build a kiln, and finally optimize the process.  When he came to work on the filters SHEEP, Toni arrived and was instantly fully engaged.  He was overflowing with smiles and technically advanced questions.  Every day has been a pleasure to work with him because of his hunger to learn.  His creativity helps to make the work more efficient and full. For example, after his second day he realized that we needed to develop the seal between the ceramic of the filter and the plastic of the container, and immediately set himself on the task.  This is one of the more critical features for the safety of the filters, and we are working with him on developing refined solutions and ways to test the solutions that he comes up with.  I am sure that Toni’s help will keep the filters on the cutting edge.

Arie sampling the clay

Also connected to the work is Arianto Nugroho (Pak Arie), who is a PhD. student in public health at University of Gadjah Mada.  His thesis will be research that will both benefit our project, and be his learning tool for his PhD.  Specifically Pak Arie will be working on improving the silver, which is used in the filter to kill bacteria.  Collaborating with him has been a huge help so far.  He has helped us find testing equipment in Yogyakarta, as well as connected us to professionals working in microbiology, chemistry, and public health.  When he heard about the work through his advisor at the university, he modified his entire thesis to better fit the work that we are doing.  Arie is very mature, capable, knowledgeable, friendly, and a champion of these filters.

 

Toni and Arie testing a sample filter

Thank you!

Thank you for all your support to make this last year possible, to create these amazing spaces where people come together and collaborate in exploring conscionable materials to make all of us healthier—this direct relationship among people and with the Earth is the foundation of peace.

I would like to return to Indonesia in August 2012 to review the results of the research, finalize a formal prototype filter and possibly set up initial small-scale production. This trip is only possible with your support. I need your discernment in this matter. Please contact me with any thoughts, ideas, concerns, suggestions, questions or for equipment donations or visiting, at: <tritonceramics@gmail.com> or on Skype at: nicholasrozard.

Nicholas Rozard

 

Training a supplier to size-classify the crushed roof tile