Environment

Solar-powered oven makes fresh water

Solar-powered oven makes fresh...
The Eliodomestico costs US$50 to build (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
The Eliodomestico costs US$50 to build (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
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The Eliodomestico can be made by local crastsmen (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
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The Eliodomestico can be made by local crastsmen (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
Pouring saltwater into the upper container (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
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Pouring saltwater into the upper container (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
How the solar still works (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
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How the solar still works (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
How the solar still works (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
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How the solar still works (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
How the solar still works (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
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How the solar still works (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
How the solar still works (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
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How the solar still works (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
The fresh water collects in a basin that can be carried on the head (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
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The fresh water collects in a basin that can be carried on the head (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
The Eliodomestico costs US$50 to build (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)
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The Eliodomestico costs US$50 to build (Image: Gabriele Diamanti)

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Concerned about the lack of fresh water in the developing world, designer Gabriele Diamanti wanted a solution to desalinate water that was available to households rather than relying on giant, centralized plants. He also wanted it to be something inexpensive that could be made by local craftsman. The result is a ceramic solar still called the Eliodomestico that operates like an “upside-down coffee percolator”.

The open-source design of the Eliodomestico is remarkably simple. It consists of two ceramic pieces that sit one atop the other. Inside the top piece is a black container into which salt water is poured. The sun heats the container, turning the water to steam. As pressure builds, the steam is forced down a tube into a container in the lower piece. There it condenses against the lid and collects in the basin of the container.

The Eliodomestico collects about five liters (1.09 gal) of fresh water per day and costs about US$50 to build with no operating costs. The bottom container’s basin is designed to be transported on the head, which is a common practice in developing countries.

The design was a finalist at Prix Emile Hermès competition 201, received special mention at the Well-Tech Award 2012 and was the pro winner of the Core77 Design Awards 2012, social impact category.

Source: Gabriele Dimanti via Fast Company

21 comments
Lady Townsend
Wow! That is so neat!
Gerard Gallagher
Elegant concept!
bergamot69
This would probably be even cheaper to build if done locally in the developing world. I like it- a lot! So many technologies that could help the poor are great in theory but unaffordable to those that need it most- this is to be commended.
Nantha Nithiahnanthan
Simple and Beautiful. With economies of scale it could probably be built for much cheaper. I see the possibilities for many imitations. Which is not a bad thing, as the people that these devices help are not rich.
Denis Pageau
Brillante idée sans une facture sallée.
Lou Digilio
Very nice concept for fresh water! Wondering how to use the left over salt at the top though.
Bruce H. Anderson
The salt could used for cooking/seasoning, and could be a source of income if it is packaged and sold. That assumes the water is not particularly nasty. I wonder if it is possible to make clean water from adulterated water using this device.
Jansen Estrup
Everybody in my California neighborhood has to buy water for drinking, cooking, even bathing - a larger version of this in every back yard would solve a lot of privatized water problems - well done, and open-source, too!
Bryan Paschke
@nantha: "knock offs" are kinda the point of open source! @Lou: depends on the salinity of the water....I bet that in some places the salt precipitating out of the evaporating salt water will be nearly as valuable as the water itself.
Siddharth Mehta
Was the efficiency of this device measured in relation to others such products, and in relation to its price? If the inventor can prove that his is the best product we can help him in spreading this. I suspect this is neither a new concept, nor the cheapest.