126 Responses to “Filter can separate water from Coke”

  1. Jon Bakos says:

    But how on Earth do our kidneys manage to filter out the SICKENING FILTH BILE that is American soda?  Sheesh, pick another country’s food to hate on for a day.  I’m sure British/Japanese/Random Country’s drinks are all made out of nutritious sunshine and happiness and nothing else.

  2. G3 says:

    How far away are they from making one that’ll take salt out of seawater?

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      How much do you want to pay per liter?

      All ‘reverse osmosis’ systems(as known to science since the mid 19th century, as somewhat viable at scale since the mid 20th) are pretty much exactly filters that will take the salt, among other things, out of seawater(or many of the remaining ions out of fresh water, if you are picky about your ions for some reason, whether it be your chip fab, or Serious fishtank, or the arsenic in the local wells).

      Not cheap, though.

      • G3 says:

        It’s a matter of pressure though right? This Coke filter seems to just run on the weight of the liquid, while our de-sal plants are power-intensive. Come up with a way of doing it by hand, quickly, and you’d be a billionaire.

        • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

          Based on the overspray toward the end of the ‘pour’ part of the sequence, it looks like carbonation pressure may be doing a little helping as well.

          If memory serves, RO systems will start working at more or less arbitrarily low pressures, it’s just that efficiency is totally dreadful until you ramp up the pressure significantly(requiring both greater energy input and more robust membranes).

          Also, my Japanese doesn’t even pretend to be good enough to get his comment on the taste. A filter that just scrubs the E150d from a cola will give you a visually clear result with minimal change in any other property. Unfortunately, everybody dealing with E150d is generally adding it quite deliberately, so literature on what filters effectively remove it is a bit slim…

          • Engineer_ says:

            All the RO units I’ve worked on, on merchant ships, had a working pressure of around 60 bars/ 870 psi. 

            I wouldn’t drink what comes out though… 

          • Dave Jenkins says:

            rough translation:
            “Okay, I’ll try a drink”
            “It’s like sugar-water.”
            “It’s almost clear, a little brown in color, but I don’t taste any cola flavour.  It tastes just like sugar water.”

        • edgore says:

          He’s squeezing the bottle to get the coke through the filter, so it’s not just the weight of the water. Still, pretty low pressure.

        • noah django says:

           >weight of the liquid

          looked like he was squeezing pretty hard.  there’s your pressure, I guess.  it would appear to outperform both the effect of gravity and gas pressure from carbonation like fungus said.

        • bingobangoboy says:

           No doubt!  You’d have enough salt to last forever!

    • peregrinus says:

       Standard gear on trans-oceanic yachts.  Hand pump.  Years ago.

      • Yeah, except, have you seen how long the hand-pumped ones take to purify water? They don’t produce much at a time and they take a damned long time to do it. I’ve never heard of anybody relying on those as a primary water source. 
        Hand-pumped water makers should really be for emergency situations. They’re things you keep on board just in case something happens to the tanks of water you carry with you on said boat, or if you get stranded for longer than your stores of water hold out, or as part of your emergency kit in case you have to (god forbid) abandon ship. You don’t rely on a hand-pumped water maker for your daily needs. 

        There are yachts, usually the really big expensive ones, that carry a motorized watermaker. And those can actually produce water in quantities and at a speed necessary to support yourself. But they’re also like, $15k. Or more. 

        • chgoliz says:

           $15K for something so essential on a multi-million-dollar yacht  is chump change.

          • Except that it’s not actually essential. And most blue water sailing vessels aren’t multi-million dollar yachts. Lots of people circumnavigate the globe relying on onboard water storage tanks. Any boat you’d actually want to take out on even big-ish water has tanks. The reason multi-million-dollar yachts “need” watermakers has more to with the fact that multi-million-dollar yacht owners also “need” dishwashers, on-board laundry, hot showers every day, etc. 

            For that level of boat owner, yeah, $15k is chump change. Absolutely. I’m just trying to point out that these aren’t the norm on cruising boats. And they’re also not exactly what most average people would call cheap. I only bring it up because the original question was asking about cheap ways to make drinkable water from fresh. I’m assuming they’re also interested in practicality. The handpump is a cheap way of doing this, but it isn’t really practical as your only source of water. The motorized version is practical, but it ain’t cheap by most human standards. 

          • Also, I have spent too much time reading about sailboat outfitting this year. 

          • chgoliz says:

             Oh, I hear you!  My guess is there’s probably a big difference between multi-million-dollar sailboats vs yachts in terms of owning these $15K puppies.  As you say, it’s for ensuring that not even an emergency situation comes between the guests and their primping for cocktails and dinner.  Sailors have a tendency — on average — to be a bit more rugged.

            It’s funny: I was comparing reviews of electric vs hand-cranked coffee grinders earlier today.  Very similar arguments were made as to their advantages and disadvantages.

            By happenstance, for reasons that would take too long to explain, last week I searched through the BB archives to get more info on the beautiful Capstan table which was covered by Cory a couple of times over the years.  Turns out, it *starts* at $100K.  That’s for a table to put on your deck.  So now you know the comparable I was thinking of when you mentioned the $15K price tag.

          • Right. If the table you have on deck is $100k, you are not even going to blink at the $15k watermaker. I’ve been looking more at the kind of budget that involves a boat which costs significantly less than that table. 

    • Sean Breakey says:

       You can also just boil it, and sell the salt as Sea Salt.

      • Boundegar says:

         Artisanal sea salt.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Naff. Try this.

          • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

            I’m assuming that, if my failure to find any intersection between the most imposing mountain range on earth and sea level causes some degree of doubt, I’m just not cool enough for the product?

          • social_maladroit says:

            Recommended by none other than self-described “economic libertarian” Megan McArdle.

          • Wreckrob8 says:

            Naked hermits after years of purification are able to guide teams of Sherpas with aqualungs and snorkels to the secret Himalayan Sea. There they mine the salt which is now the property of the British Crown (hence the race to the summit for coronation day) and with which the House of Windsor aim to enslave the world once we have all become addicted to the magical properties of Pink Sea Salt.
            Either that or oxygen starved tourists queueing for the summit seeing the lacerated bodies of former extreme tourists slowly making their way down the mountain start halucinating, “There’s a fucking pink sea, mate, fucking pink it is, full of fucking salt!”

          • chgoliz says:

             Rock salt: it’s mined.

          • Jonathan Roberts says:

            Hey, it’s on sale!

    • I’m skeptical of this device; it seems more like a magic trick. If it’s legit though, I would ask the same question.

  3. How far away are they from making one that will only allow H2O out?  Because what remains behind could be VERY interesting.  Bromine, Uranium, CaCl2, etc.

    • Gilbert Wham says:

       Wait, what? Coke’s got uranium in it? Fuuuck. I thought it just made you fat.

      • Vengefultacos says:

         It makes you heavier. Uranium is very, very heavy.

      • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

        Likely comes down to the source and procedures at the local bottler. Uranium, at low levels, isn’t exactly uncommon in a variety of common rocks and also shows up in coal fly ash and assorted other places. In geologically-blessed regions, it’s pretty common for it to show up in well water.

        Since most coke isn’t shipped all that far from its bottling point(water is heavy and not that valuable, after all). Your mileage may quite literally vary.

        This is why Nuka-Cola Quantum is the beverage to choose when you want to be sure that you’ll get that healthy glow!

      • AwesomeRobot says:

        Bananas have uranium in them too. Lots of things do.

    • Lemoutan says:

      Is Uranium + Bromine = Urine or Bromium? It’s the New Chemistry.

  4. theophrastvs says:

    even just boring old activated charcoal is used for removing caramel (coloring) from molasses. (caramel is the coloring agent in coca-cola, i think).  it’s a little suspicious that the filter apparently removes the (CO2) carbonation as well?  or maybe the demonstration starts with ‘flat’ soda?

    • Hanglyman says:

      The soda’s definitely not flat. You can hear the gas escaping as he opens the bottle, see it fizz up, and can even see the bubbles clinging to the sides of the container after he pours it in.

    • GrumpySteen says:

       According to their website, “ÖKO’s patent-pending water bottles with filters are carbon based for great, crisp tasting water. With a 2 micron pore size, they use a positively charged electro-adsorption process to attract and trap harmful agents while killing them by using the built-in silver ions.”

      So it basically is an activated charcoal filter with some silver thrown in.  They have a water safety page on their site that says not to use the filters with “microbiologically tainted water” in big red capital letters, which is a pretty good indication that they know the silver is a gimmick that isn’t really doing much.

      • Hegelian says:

        “”microbiologically tainted water” in big red capital letters, which is a
        pretty good indication that they know the silver is a gimmick that
        isn’t really doing much.”

        But it might help keep nasty stuff from taking root and growing in your carbon filter.

      • blueelm says:

        So it’s a Britta basically.

         I have to use that to make the water in my stupidly expensive apartment marginally drinkable because it tastes so strongly of mold. I’ve finally given up and resolved just to buy water like everyone else here does. (It really tastes like you are licking the water out of a metal latrine, spitting it through a mildewed shower curtain, then drinking it again). I think the pipes must be bad. I have drunk reverse osmosis rainwater that tasted less toxic.

  5. Mike Guerrero says:

    Now to find recipes that call for Coke stock.

  6. Hanglyman says:

    Why does the water appear to no longer be carbonated? Is that something the filter does, a hint that this might not be real, or am I somehow overlooking the bubbles?

    • noah django says:

      I was skeptical that the filter might have been pre-loaded with clear water, but after going back and forth on the video a few times, it *looks* like the volume of the glass plus the remainder in the filter bottle adds up to the volume of the original pour of coke.

      I’m too dumb science-wise to understand if the filter takes out the carbonation chemically or if it flattens it physically somehow, like as if it had gone flat with time but due to being forced through the filter; or if my ideas–valid or no–are two ways of saying the same thing.

      but yeah, I wondered that, too.

    • blueandroid says:

      I once ran some mineral water through a portable water filter, it too came out mostly flat.  I think that that the agitation and the pressure gradients encountered result in much of the co2 leaving solution quickly.  

    • GrumpySteen says:

       Activated charcoal (which is what the filter is) has a ton of nucleation sites.  If you look at the unfiltered Coke, you can see that it looks like it’s boiling with all the bubbles of CO2 coming off the filter as the Coke goes through.

    • Wayne Dyer says:

      It’s fizzing up into the bottle, you can see it bubbling at the back.

      It’s a physical phenomenon — the massive surface area in the filter gives the CO2 plenty of nucleation sites.  YOu can see the same effect if you pour cola onto a smooth table vs a rough table.  Aa smooth glass vs a scratched glass.  So it’ll come out flat.As for the color and flavor — the filter will take out larger molecules and those that are readily adsorbed by the charcoal.  Caramel coloring is essentially burnt sugar, making oligomers that would be mostly filtered out.  Likewise, aromatics like the vanillin and such flavorings would also adsorb well to charcoal, so you’d lose some of the flavoring.  The sugar though should make it through.  Small and not as adsorbable.  I’d expect something like Sprite to retain more flavor.  Mountain Dew should retain more citrus flavor, but it’d lose its thickness and cloudiness.

  7. brerrabbit23 says:

    Might anyone be kind enough to translate what this nice man is saying, please?

  8. rvernon says:

    The water looks…a tad yellow.  Maybe make a few passes through the filter.

  9. Michael Summers says:

    The filter might already have water in it as part of the initial set-up process.

  10. Jardine says:

    I wonder how you dispose of the sludge that remains in the bottle?

    Drink it. It’s magically delicious. When I worked at a fast food place years ago, it was easy to get at the button that dispensed just syrup. The Pepsi was way too sweet like that, but the root beer was actually pretty good in small doses.

    •  Working an amusement park as a teen, I’d use the Mountain Dew syrup to lure bees away from where I was working.

    • Jonathan Roberts says:

      Drink it.

      That does seem a little counterproductive, but then so does buying Coke in order to filter out the flavouring.

    • blueelm says:


      • Felton / Moderator says:

        I used to eat at a Chinese restaurant that had a plum sauce that tasted more like root beer than plums.  This could explain it.

        • PhasmaFelis says:

          I’ve slow-cooked a pork butt in root beer to make pulled pork. It’s delicious. Not very sweet, with two bottles root beer to seven pounds pork, but it adds a deep, warm, rich flavor to the meat. After pulling it apart, you can cook it a bit more with your favorite barbeque sauce or eat it straight.

  11. Dean Kamen has been working on the water filtration problem, and has created a device called Slingshot: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slingshot_%28water_vapor_distillation_system%29

    It’s distillation, not reverse osmosis, but it would probably take most of the coke-ness out of a bottle of coca-cola, but it’s not exactly portable.

    It appears that the OKO filter shown in the video doesn’t take all of the sugar out, but I’m wondering how much of the caffine gets filtered out.

    Also, there’s no sludge left in the *bottle*, only coke. All the sludge ends up in the filter, not the bottle.

    • bcsizemo says:

      Distillation is the way to go for maximum purity.  As long as you have a viable energy source you can get clean water out of just about anything, but again for large, large scale it can be somewhat inefficient.

      • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

        Just as long as the contaminant isn’t itself roughly similar to water in volatility, or azeotropic, or anything similarly obnoxious…

  12. Darron Moore says:

    Cory, what do you mean by the entertainment industry trying to get the food coloring out of the swimming pool?

  13. xzzy says:

    I find it amusing that someone made a super water filter, and then made it from plastic and shipped it with a plastic reservoir.  The people who would be most interested in filtering contaminants from their water will probably refuse it based on that.

  14. Mister44 says:

    You’re all looking at this the wrong way. Take a bottle of Mt. Dew. Filer half of it out of the bottle/ What you have left is a super concentrated mega ultra Mt Dew – Mwahahahahahaha

    Also I take it that something like pond water would work equally as well?

    • t3kna2007 says:

      You can do it with diet Coke without the filter.  Take a two-liter bottle and just plunk it in the freezer for about two hours, then pull it out.  It’ll be solid, but not rock solid.  Then sit it out on the counter or whatever until it’s about 3/4 thawed.  The syrup thaws first, so the trick is to let just enough of the water thaw too that you end up with a drinkable yet higher-octane form.  Open it then, over a large bowl in the sink.  You should still be able to see a bottle-shaped but hollowed-out water ice structure inside the bottle.  What pours out will be a very drinkable Essence of Life.

      • Jake Rennie says:

        Diet Coke would have to be drinkable to begin with in order to be drinkable in a higher-octane form.

      • dustindriver says:

        The same method can be used to make hooch from moderately alcoholic liquid. It’s called freezer distillation.  My buddy does it with home brew barley wine. The stuff is already, like, 10% when it goes in. What comes out will knock you on your arse something fierce. 

        • Jerril says:

           IIRC you have to be careful with freezer distillation of home-brew as it will also concentrate methanol.

          You can also repeat the process a few times, but it drops in efficiency rapidly.

    • lewis_stoole says:

      or blood? water from blood? urine? can i get me some fresh water from urine? 

  15. Katey Corrigan says:

    But does it work with coke? If so, anyone interested in investing in a Pepsi bottling plant in Bolivia?

  16. Mike Baker says:

    After reading this post and all the comments below it, I’m firmly convinced that the authors and those that comment  on Boing Boing on weekends are all drunk.

  17. Andy III says:

    “Black Waters of American Imperialism”

    Odd phrase for an adult with the biggest hard-on for Disney that I’ve ever seen.

    • To be fair to Cory, it’s not like he hasn’t had a similar sense of humor about The Mouse and its own corporate misbehaviors.

    • Darron Moore says:

       I hope it doesn’t extend to the rat as well.  I think it’s just nostalgia for the Disneyland of his youth.

    • Daniel Dehner says:

       I agree.  Several posts recently have been peppered with sophomoric
      liberal rhetoric that takes away from the fascination of the subject.  I
      come to Boing Boing for the fascination, and expect a little bit of
      propaganda thrown in, but I have gotten to a point where I have been
      going elsewhere for fascination-style blogging.
      Perhaps I am taking
      this too far, but a corporation cannot be “imperial.”  If he is
      suggesting it is so in the manner of being exploitative, perhaps he
      would like to ask one of Coca Cola’s 92,400 employees around the world
      how exploited they feel.

    • Rider says:

      I’m really tired of his bashing of America at this point.   Half of his posts this weekend seem to be just an excuse to insult Americans.

      • Andy III says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m the least nationalistic person around, but give me a break. Couple this post with the smart-ass dig about that new ‘breakfast soda’ as ‘American Cuisine’ and it starts to get a little insulting.But, I guess I’m a bad person to ask – I read BB around his posts.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Maybe this will make you feel better.

  18. Timmo Warner says:

    Six hours later and still nobody knows what that pool/food colouring comment means.

    • Donald Petersen says:

      For a second I thought it was a Jaws reference, but I think that involved milk rather than food coloring.

    • social_maladroit says:

      Ultimately, I think the fact that people will copy the stuff that they
      like is not a problem; it’s a fact. Problems are things you can change.
      Facts are things you have to get used to.

      It’s safer to say that there’s a disconnect between firms and
      individuals that understand this is a fact and who accommodate
      themselves to it and try to maximize their revenue in a world in which
      copying is a given and the ones who still think it’s productive to
      devote enormous amounts of resources to trying to get food coloring out
      of the swimming pool, to try and stop things from being copied once
      they’re digital.

      Cory Doctorow

      • L_Mariachi says:

        It still doesn’t make any sense. Swimming pools have filters and pumps built in. I don’t know what a typical flow rate is, never having owned a pool, but I’d wild guess any food coloring would be gone within a week with no manual intervention. If not, it’s not that tremendously difficult to drain a pool.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          You’re assuming that the dye particles are large enough to be caught by the filter. More likely that the food coloring would disappear because pools are chlorinated.

  19. TG13 says:

    pay attention to the fluid levels prior to filtering and after filtering.. the amount of clear water, as opposed to the amount of cola that was “filtered”.. 

  20. SedanChair says:

    I wonder how you dispose of the sludge that remains in the bottle?

    Eat it with a fuckin’ spoon BOOYAH

  21. Paul Renault says:

    I realize I’m way down in the comment threads, but I’d like to point out that, according to OKO’s website, the filter can filter down to 1-2 microns.

    Bacteria are about 1 micron, virii much smaller.  While it may make colas clear, it doesn’t mean the water’s safe to dring.

  22. Daniel Dehner says:

     I agree.  Several posts recently have been peppered with more than the usual sophomoric liberal rhetoric that takes away from the fascination of the subject.  I come to Boing Boing for the fascination, and expect a little bit of propaganda thrown in, but I have gotten to a point where I have been going elsewhere for fascination-style blogging.
    Perhaps I am taking this too far, but a corporation cannot be “imperial.”  If he is suggesting it is so in the manner of being exploitative, perhaps he would like to ask one of Coca Cola’s 92,400 employees around the world how exploited they feel.

  23. dustindriver says:

    So if regular coke can dissolve a penny overnight, super-concentrated coke sludge must be like xenomorph blood. 

    • Jerril says:

       Except that regular coke can’t dissolve a penny overnight. Or even in a week. It can shine it up somewhat, and given three to five days will dissolve a baby tooth, but those are both properties of soda water, which becomes mildly acidic due to the carbonation process.

  24. Kimberly Coleman says:

    This seems OK and worth trying for. Been looking for handy filter for traveling, so this looks good. I’m just wondering if anyone has heard about the uv water filter?

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