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Desalinizing water is expensive, right? Not with this clay pot

Posting in Design

About 70% of the world's surface is covered by water. But since 97% of it is ocean water, all but a tiny percentage is undrinkable.

While ways to desalinize it exist, they mostly require a lot of energy and money. As Fast Company reports, "power plants and hundreds of millions of dollars are needed to run larger desalination plants."

But a new clay pot called Eliodomestico could change all that.

Designed by Milan-based freelance industrial designer Gabriele Diamanti, Eliodomestico is a clay pot topped with a black metal basin. Diamanti's site says that it purifies the water "like an upside down coffee maker." The sun beats down on the top, causing the water to steam up. As it expands, it is forced down into the only available space -- the expansion nozzle, which leads down to a clay bowl design especially for easy transport on top of the head, as water is often carried around the world.

Left behind in the pot are salt and other contaminants.

Amazingly, the cost to build the device (which has an open-source design that anyone can use to build their own) is $50 and it produced five liters of water a day in optimal conditions, whereas existing solar stills cost $100 to produce and make just three liters of water per day.

Not only is it cheaper and more productive, but the solar-powered object also requires no electricity, no filters and a low level of maintenance. Eliodomestico could help change the disheartening statistic that 3.6 million people die each year due to lack of clean water.

Related on SmartPlanet:

via: Fast Company

photos and diagram: Gabriele Diamanti

— By on September 30, 2012, 8:34 AM PST

Laura Shin

Features Editor

Laura Shin has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, and is currently a contributor at Forbes. Previously, she worked at Newsweek, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and LearnVest. She holds degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure