We love seeing designers come up with ideas for solar powered fresh water purification and generation for underdeveloped areas. While most of them won’t pan out, it keeps the spark going for figuring out ideas that will work. One such contender is the Solarball by Jonathan Liow, a graduate student at Monash University. He’s come up with a very clever design for a portable, and durable, solar powered water purifier that looks just like a modified hamster ball.
The Solarball was designed to help those people in areas that lack clean drinking water. It can produce up to 3 litres — or just over 3 quarts — of clean water every day provided there is ample sunlight. It is a simple design which makes it user friendly, and has a weather resistant construction so it should last a long time in hot climates.
Monash University reports, “The spherical unit absorbs sunlight and causes dirty water contained inside to evaporate. As evaporation occurs, contaminants are separated from the water, generating drinkable condensation. The condensation is collected and stored, ready for drinking.
Manufacturing issues will of course include using a material — most likely a plastic — that is durable enough to not break down after sitting in the sun constantly. Also, the matter of capacity is a bit of an issue. With less than a gallon a day produced by the ball, it would take a couple of these balls per person to satisfy drinking and cooking water needs. For a whole village, it’d take a little herd of these balls. That leans toward the impractical side. However, the design is definitely a great start.
Robaid reports, “Solarball has been named as a finalist in the 2011 Australian Design Awards – James Dyson Award. It will also be exhibited at the Milan International Design Fair (Salone Internazionale del Mobile) in April 2011.”
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