When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines earlier this month, it leveled entire neighborhoods and left thousands of people dead, missing or displaced.
Even now that the initial devastation has passed, many Filipinos lack access to the most basic necessities of life: food, shelter, and clean water. Thanks to his invention of an innovative ceramic water filter and his foundation Water4Life, Associate Scientist Alex Vrinzen is fighting to bring aid where it is most needed.
In 2002, as part of its centenary celebrations, DSM launched the “Dream Action Awards” initiative, which inspired DSM employees from around the world to propose new ideas for innovations that would help make the world abettor place. One of the winning ideas, selected from a total of more than 700proposals, was a simple, inexpensive drinking straw containing a ceramic ultrafiltration membrane. The membrane needed just a slight pressure differential to let through clean water, free of dangerous bacteria and parasites. The membrane experts behind this idea were Paul Vergossen and Alex Vrinzen of DSM Research, Geleen (Netherlands) – and with their efforts, the technology behind Water4Life was born.