This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink

This Magazine Staff

Environmental innovation is often focused on big, costly projects — a massive wind turbine farm, a smart grid, or perhaps a policy change on carbon emissions. But when it comes to going green, it’s often the bare bones, DIY projects that have the greatest impact.
Enter Solvatten, a simple jerry can that harnesses solar energy to purify drinking water. By using energy from the sun, the container is able to heat and purify up to 10 litres of water. When the water is safe the drink, a small indicator light changes from red to green. The pathogen-killing process takes between 3-4 hours.
Access to a stable, clean supply of drinking water is a major issue in the developing world. 1.6 billion people world wide do not have access to electricity. That means that drinking water must be boiled over firewood or charcoal in order to destroy pathogens. Using Solvatten just once a day, 250 days in a year, could save up to 2,500 kg of firewood. That means less soil erosion, less CO2 emissions, and a truly green approach to development.

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