Technology for Sterile Water Generator

G. Srinivas, A. Robinson, B. Yamona, N. Weinstein
TDA Research, Inc.,
United States

Keywords: sterile water for injection, portable, point-of-injury, irrigation, reconstitute, plasma


Currently, deployed medics must transport, maintain, and be resupplied with liquid-based medications that are heavy, expensive to transport, perishable, and may require refrigeration. In a battlefield scenario IV resuscitation is critical, and treatment of mass casualties can rapidly deplete a deployed medical unit’s supply. This reduces patient recovery and survivability, impacting the unit’s ability to accomplish their mission. Furthermore, access to these fluids requires continuous logistical support; often the military relies on valuable airlift assets to transport prepackaged IV solutions (containing 97% water). This is vulnerable to disruption, as the distances required for transport can be vast and the USAF may not have Air Superiority. Producing sterile water for injection (SWFI) on or near the battlefield would significantly enhance current capabilities, especially since many medications and blood products (such as freeze-dried plasma) are available in dehydrated formularies that require SWFI to rehydrate for immediate use. Unfortunately no commercial system capable of producing SWFI in the field exists. TDA Research, Inc. (TDA), in collaboration with Mountain Safety Research (MSR), a division of Cascade Designs, is developing a compact, easy-to-use, man-portable, sterile water generator. MSR has over 40 years of experience developing products for the outdoor industry and has developed water purification products for the US military that can remove a broad spectrum of battlefield contaminants including microorganisms, organic pollutants (pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, BTEX, petroleum hydrocarbons), toxic metals (lead, cadmium, mercury), and chemical warfare agents. TDA is leveraging our expertise in designing and engineering devices to combine sorbents and filters, including a state of the art water purification filter from MSR, to create a device capable of producing SWFI from potable water. In the Phase I SBIR project TDA designed, built, and demonstrated a device that met the Air Force’s threshold criteria as listed in the DHA’s SBIR topic criteria for device weight, volume, water flow rate, and number of cycles it can perform before needing to replace any components. During the Phase II and current Phase II Enhancement projects the design has been further refined; the current prototype is capable of producing 1L of SWFI in 7 minutes and has simple flushing and air purging procedures. To produce SWFI from potable water, the impurities that need to be removed are particulates, bacterial endotoxins, organic carbon, and soluble ions. Traditional methods of producing SWFI are not suitable for portable devices; the most common techniques are reverse osmosis and distillation, which both require large amounts of energy and use heavy, non-portable equipment. Our device combines a hollow fiber filter developed by MSR for the US Marine Corps to remove microbiologicals, a carbon column to remove organic carbon species, and a Purolite ion exchange resin to remove soluble ions. We thank the USA Medical Research ACQ for funding this project through the SBIR program (Contract # W81XWH-19-C-0062, Technical Monitor Sandy Synder) and the invaluable guidance from Dr. Scott Walter (topic author, Director of Technology Transition/Transfer, 59th MDW Lackland AFB).