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WorldSkills Museum Bike

Sheridan-designed purifying water bike lands in Shanghai

Newsroom authorby Meagan KashtyDec 2, 2023

Water Bike 2An innovative pedal-powered water purification system developed at Sheridan has landed in the new WorldSkills Museum in Shanghai.

The museum, which opened in early November, is a collaboration between WorldSkills International and WorldSkills China. It is the first museum in the world dedicated to vocational skills and features over 800 artefacts, telling the story of WorldSkills and of skills across time and cultures.

WorldSkills is the largest and most influential skills competition in the world. Every year young people compete to earn the title of world champion in their skill area.

Sheridan’s water purification system – or “water bike” as it’s affectionately called – is the cornerstone of museum and represents six years of dedicated effort by Sheridan students and faculty. Made to be used in parts of the world where electricity supplies are unreliable or non-existent, the pump can produce one litre of clean water per minute with an expected output of 100 gallons per day, if run continuously at approximately 30 r/min.

The water bike was the test project for the Industrial Mechanic Millwright (IMM) skill competition at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.

IMM competitors that year were tasked with building a pedal-powered water purification system for developing countries. The water bike prototype was designed and built in Sheridan’s workshops under the direction of Craig Brazil, professor and coordinator of Sheridan’s IMM Program, and Simon Heathcote, Lab Manager in the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology (FAST). Brazil also served as the IMM Skill Competition Manager that year.

“We were proud to have the opportunity to showcase a project from our own workshops on the world stage,” said Brazil. “Access to clean drinking water has been a major challenge of the 21st century. The water bike is representative of the potential that skilled trades — and young skilled workers — have when working together to solve global problems.”

The project proved to be such a success that WorldSkills donated the prototype to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) The seven pedal-powered purification systems built at the end of the competition were also sent to UNIDO’s Learning and Knowledge Development Facility for an ongoing program addressing the scarce water resources in Morocco.

“What was striking about the water bike is that it’s cheap and practical,” said Hamida Ghafour, WorldSkills Museum Curator “It can be placed near a lake or river, for example, and pump six litres of clean water every minute. It is a terrific example of skilled workers thinking about how they can build a better world.”

Sheridan has had a long history of success at the Skills Canada National Competition and WorldSkills event. Brazil served as the Chief Expert in 2015 and 2016, and since 2017, has served as IM Skills Competition Manager. In the 2019 WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia, Sheridan student Jake Doan earned a sixth-place finish in the IM category, and in 2022, Sheridan hosted the Industrial Mechanics competition at its Davis campus in Brampton.

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