Yes, it’s a thing! Water Station from LUQEL offers a multi-stage filtration system, which allows every user to draw their favourite personalised quality water from more than 30 recipes with a simple press of a touchscreen. Editor Hamish Kilburn sat down with the company’s President to find out more…
The benefits of keeping hydrated to drink the recommended two litres of water per day have been long-documented.
And while consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental implications from buying non-refillable bottles, with a recent study showing that 75 per cent of guests believe hotels should be doing more to be greener, the industry is, too, changing it’s stance on plastic and how it provides water.
For a luxury hotel brand, where operational measures to become more eco-conscious can to the naive eye look like budget-saving methods, ensuring service and design work in harmony is more important than ever before.
When it comes to offering a suitable water solution, there is one brand on our radar that is going above all others to meaningfully explore the qualities of clean water. LUQEL has created a concept, which will offer guests the ability to taste personalised recipes. To find out more about the benefits of personalised water– as well as the journey to invent such technology – I spoke to the the company’s President, Josef Schucker.
“This allows every user to draw their favourite personalised water from more than 30 recipes, in pristine quality every time at the press of a touchscreen.” – Josef Schucker, President, LUQEL
Hamish Kilburn: How would you describe the LUQEL solution?
Josef Schucker: At its heart it is unique water beverage technology using mineral ions in combination with a multi-stage filtration system. This allows every user to draw their favourite personalised water from more than 30 recipes, in pristine quality every time at the press of a touchscreen. With no bacteria in the water or held in the machine, due to the unique way the water is processed.
HK: What is your favourite recipe from the Water Station?
JS: I’ve recently switched to drinking our recipe “Smooth Times”. It is a fizzy water with a strong mineralise level, particularly sulphate which supports digestion and maintains cell function, it has been helpful since I started my detox at the start of the year. That doesn’t mean I still don’t use “Green Power” for my green tea first thing in the morning.
HK: What inspired you to start the company?
JS: I saw so many washed-up plastic bottles whilst I was living out my childhood dream to sail and explore the most remote of places on earth. It made me see how careless humanity is with its plastic waste and with nature, and how senseless it is to drink bottles of water that are transported thousands of miles. “It’s so simple,” I thought. “Just turn on the tap and enjoy a glass of water.” I grew up in Germany where the quality of the tap water is safe to drink but it doesn’t always taste great. This isn’t the same for all countries and the idea to provide everyone with great tasting water started the development and the idea for LUQEL and the water station.
“Dr. Monique Bissen has built a team around her of water engineers, creative designers, chemist and engineers to bring to life the ideas and concepts.” – Josef Schucker, President, LUQEL.
HK: How did you go about developing/nurturing engineering talents for this new revolutionary concept?|
JS: During the search of a water station solution, I encountered the expert in this field: Dr. Monique Bissen, who is a qualified engineer working in the field of water chemistry and has more than 20 years’ experience in the treatment of water. She has built a team around her of water engineers, creative designers, chemist and engineers to bring to life the ideas and concepts. The product, technology and engineering has never been done before, it has brought together the best minds to achieve the solution we have, and to create a leading edge solution.
HK: Does Dr. Bissen share the same view on water and plastic waste as you?
JS: She does, she believes the combination of water and plastic to be unhealthy. She is annoyed that many water-treatment devices used by people at home or at work to avoid plastic bottles still contain too much plastic that the water stored is constantly contaminated by the material. She envisages a pure, completely individually personalised water. This new water not only needs to be packaged differently, it has to be better and requires a completely new, plastic-free method of water treatment. We are certain that this can be achieved.
HK: What has surprised you during the development and launch of LUQEL?
JS: The biggest surprise has been people’s reaction to tasting the water from the LUQEL Water Station. You wouldn’t believe that the recipes can taste so different until you try them. As the water can be hot to compliment teas and coffees, cold with a choice of still or sparkling that will balance with food and drink, all without adjusting any of the settings. It really has that wow factor and makes it exciting to drink water.
I started out to develop a machine based on those plastic bottles and to filter the water to provide quality drinking water. We’ve developed not only a proficient water filtering product, but it also enables the user to customise their drink to their personal taste.
HK: Just how safe is drinking water in the UK?
JS: As water is a clear liquid it is often assumed to be clean and safe. Tap water in the UK is processed to a high standard by the water companies, but new elements are now entering the water table and are different to the bacteria that had historically been removed. One of those that will deteriorate the quality of the water are microplastics and that are increasingly enter our drinking water. Invisible to the naked eye, these tiny particles, whose effects we are only now beginning to discern, are causing irreparable damage to the environment and to fish and sea birds. The aim would be to separate drinking water and plastic, turn our back on standard water and embrace our individual requirements.
HK: Is the solution then to just remove the reliance on plastic water bottles and containers?
JS: The sustainability element is just part of the LUQEL solution, providing great tasting water to your individual taste will encourage you to drink more water. People choose to drink water only if they have exhausted all other options, carbonated soft drinks, coffee, tea. Sugar consumption has increased and even with the UK sugar tax or Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) introduced in 2018 this hasn’t deterred consumers from their favourite drink. LUQEL’s system guides you on the amount you should be drinking, tracks your consumption and welcomes you when you approach the water station with your LUQEL water bottle or NFC tag.
HK: Has this changed how you now drink water?
JS: I’m drinking more water than I used to and enjoy the variety of the selection of waters that I can try. I’d previously look for something refreshing or different as I didn’t want just “boring” water, that would result, most of the time, in a soda of some kind so this has been great for my hydration levels but also for my sugar intake.
HK: Who are LUQEL’s competitors?
JS: There isn’t a product on the market that does all that the LUQEL Water Station does in one machine. There are plenty of companies that offer different levels of water filtration for the business or home, whether cold or hot at a set temperature, but not to the range or variations we have developed. We seriously believe this product will revolutionise the water market.
HK: What is the future roadmap/developments for the business?
JS: The Water Station we have developed is the first of a family of solutions to meet different capacity needs in the home, a business or whilst you are out and about. We are continuing to invest in technology to make the most efficient technological product we can and provide an enjoyable and exciting experience to our customers wherever and whenever they choose to do so.
HK: What is your vision for the company?
JS: To ultimately see LUQEL water stations providing consumers with great tasting mineralised water and that they are drinking more water as their regular choice of beverage. From a sustainability aspect, it has to be that as a planet we have to reduce our reliance on plastic, ultimately helping the environment and for it to continue to be a great place for the next generations to enjoy.
Main image credit: Pixabay