Monro, Philip Peter

Monro, Philip Peter
SUBJECT AREA: Chemical technology
b. 27 May 1946 London, England
English biologist, inventor of a water-purification process by osmosis.
Monro's whole family background is engineering, an interest he did not share. Instead, he preferred biology, an enthusiasm aroused by reading the celebrated Science of Life by H.G. and G.P.Wells and Julian Huxley. Educated at a London comprehensive school, Monro found it necessary to attend evening classes while at school to take his advanced level science examinations. Lacking parental support, he could not pursue a degree course until he was 21 years old, and so he gained valuable practical experience as a research technician. He resumed his studies and took a zoology degree at Portsmouth Polytechnic. He then worked in a range of zoology and medical laboratories, culminating after twelve years as a Senior Experimental Officer at Southampton Medical School. In 1989 he relinquished his post to devote himself fall time to developing his inventions as Managing Director of Hampshire Advisory and Technical Services Ltd (HATS). Also in 1988 he obtained his PhD from Southampton University, in the field of embryology.
Monro had meanwhile been demonstrating a talent for invention, mainly in microscopy. His most important invention, however, is of a water-purification system. The idea for it came from Michael Wilson of the Institute of Dental Surgery in London, who evolved a technique for osmotic production of sterile oral rehydration solutions, of particular use in treating infants suffering from diarrhoea in third-world countries. Monro broadened the original concept to include dried food, intravenous solutions and even dried blood. The process uses simple equipment and no external power and works as follows: a dry sugar/salts mixture is sealed in one compartment of a double bag, the common wall of which is a semipermeable membrane. Impure water is placed in the empty compartment and the water transfers across the membrane by the osmotic force of the sugar/salts. As the pores in the membrane exclude all viruses, bacteria and their toxins, a sterile solution is produced.
With the help of a research fellowship granted for humanitarian reasons at King Alfred College, Winchester, the invention was developed to functional prototype stage in 1993, with worldwide patent protection. Commercial production was expected to follow, if sufficient financial backing were forthcoming. The process is not intended to replace large installations, but will revolutionize the small-scale production of sterile water in scattered third-world communities and in disaster areas where normal services have been disrupted.
HATS was awarded First Prize in the small business category and was overall prize winner in the Toshiba Year of Invention, received a NatWest/BP award for technology and a Prince of Wales Award for Innovation.
1993, with M.Wilson and W.A.M.Cutting, "Osmotic production of sterile oral rehydration solutions", Tropical Doctor 23:69–72.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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