By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Design
World Water Day: The SolarBall water purifier can help impoverished regions that don't have access to clean drinking water.
It may look like a toy, but Jonathan Liow’s invention has the potential to save lives.
The Solarball, a water purifier, was developed as a sustainably viable solution for those living in impoverished regions who don’t have access to clean drinking water. The device, which takes advantage of the sun's natural purifying abilities, can produce up to three liters of clean water a day.
"After visiting Cambodia in 2008, and seeing the immense lack of everyday products we take for granted, I was inspired to use my design skills to help others,’ said Liow, a student at Monash University in Melbourne Australia.
The Solarball works by absorbing the heat from sunlight, which causes dirty water contained inside to evaporate. During the evaporation process, contaminants are removed from the water, leaving behind condensation that can be collected and stored for drinking.
The design is user-friendly and durable, with a weather-resistant construction, making it well suited to people in hot, wet, tropical climates with limited access to resources. But most importantly, the technology was created to be an affordable option for the 900 million people who don't have access to clean water.
It's been estimated that over two million children die each year from diseases caused by drinking contaminated water.
"The challenge was coming up with a way to make the device more efficient than other products available, without making it too complicated, expensive, or technical," Liow said.
The invention was a finalist in the 2011 Australian Design Awards and will be exhibited at the Milan International Design Fair in April 2011.
Photo: Monash University
More from World Water Day on SmartPlanet:
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- Water's energy potential highlighted on World Water Day
- American scientist wins 2011 Stockholm Water Prize
- 10 ways to cut water consumption
- Without sustainability, 'severe' water scarcity by 2050
- New irrigation system helps farmers conserve water
- In 20 years, water demand will exceed supply by 40 percent
- Why we're running out of water
- A bicycle that produces drinking water may help thirsty villages
Mar 22, 2011
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Not new, but nevertheless works without power or high tech parts, being very low cost, reliable etc. Clearly a case where less is more. This is a lesson for those who are trying to achieve the same thing with "more", obviously with high-stupid-tech. I think, with such easy, simple, low-cost solutions to water problem (in large scale), there won't be any water crisis in a few decades as many predict, saying that water will be "the most expensive liquid".
is very welcome. the simpler to use the better it will work. That using sunlight to purify water is not new, does not matter. If it can be given out to needy areas, anywhere, the benefits are enormous.
Perhaps there really is "nothing new under the sun" as we reported on a similar invention in 2007, though this one simply used existing plastic bottles. You can read about it and see a short video at http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?id=/research/star/index_en.cfm?p=15_main&item=Success%20stories&artid=3678
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I must be missing something here "...making it well suited to people in hot, wet, tropical climates". What ever happened to the concept of collecting good old, free, rain water. Homes in Burmuda get 100% of their potable water by collecting rain water from their roofs. It may not be high-teck but it is certainly cheap and effective.
This concept was found in life rafts all over the world in the 1980's when I first saw it. It was called solar water distilling and was used to make drinking water for those stranded on a life raft. I think a friend that sailed around the western Pacific used one on the boat for drinking water.