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Brother and Sister Conceive Rainwater Capture System for Windshield Wipers, Ford Develops Prototype

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Daniel and Lara Krohn

Daniel and Lara Krohn with the full-scale version of their idea

A wise woman once said that she believed the children would be our future, and with a new generation blazing trails and not backing down from difficult conversations, it sounds all the more like prophecy. A sterling example of kids leading the way forward is the case of Daniel and Lara Krohn, siblings from Jülich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, whose idea for water conservation netted them first place in a science competition and caught the attention of Ford.

During a drive last summer, an empty wiper fluid reservoir led to an increasingly streaky windshield in the midst of a rainstorm. It was then that Daniel and Lara wondered if the rain couldn’t simply be collected by the washer jets and used instead of a wiper fluid, and the light bulbs over their heads quickly turned into action.

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“It was a downpour. There was water everywhere—except in the windscreen wiper reservoir. My sister and I thought this was really funny, and then the answer suddenly seemed obvious. Simply reuse the rainwater,” said Daniel.

“We couldn’t believe that no one had thought of it before,” said Lara. “To try it out, we took apart our toy fire engine and fixed the pump to a model car inside an aquarium. Then we added a filtering system to ensure the water was clean. It just worked really well.”

The development of this idea took the top prize in a local science competition, leading Ford to offer to put a full-scale version of the device into a Ford S-MAX. It seems a fairly simple contraction—rubber tubes connect to the windshield wiper fluid reservoir from the bottom of the windscreen, instantly funneling rain water into the tank. And yet, seemingly no one had thought to try it until a 11-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl got the idea during a drive with their dad.

“Daniel and Lara’s idea has been staring drivers in the face for decades—and it has taken one moment of ingenuity to bring it to life. In less than five minutes of rainfall, the washer reservoir is completely full,” said Theo Geuecke, supervisor, Body Exterior Hardware, Ford of Europe.

With the assumption that drivers use around 5.25 gallons of windshield wiper fluid every year and the fact that there are around 291 million vehicles on the road in Europe aline, Ford assumes that the implementation of the “Krohn” system could save upwards of 1.6 million gallons of water a year.

The children = our future.

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