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Bethany Hanson / WUSF Public Media

A device developed by University of South Florida engineers that turns wastewater into clean water, energy and nutrients will soon be headed to South Africa.

The NEWgenerator uses membrane filtration - similar to a coffee filter - to clean dirty water and convert it for future use.

Daniel Yeh / USF College of Engineering

For USF graduate research assistant Robert Bair, work he normally does in the laboratory isn’t as easy when he’s out in the field. And in this case, we literally mean a field in India.

"So a lot of things happen that you wouldn’t expect in a lab - a few weeks ago we had a few coconuts from a tree fall onto our data logger, and of course, not a lot of damage was done, but it wasn’t something we expected," he said recently via Skype. "And we had to rearrange the site configuration just so that wouldn’t happen again so we could prevent further damage."

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

An idea that’s been percolating on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida for a decade is now being applied halfway across the world, just as its inventors imagined.