Over two million children die annually from preventable causes due to contaminated water, and that number is currently on the rise, due to rapid urbanization and population growth. Monash University graduate Jonathan Liow has developed a device which may help to potentially change that: the Solarball.
This device is, in essence, a solar water purifier (which we’ve been seeing more of recently) in the shape of a plastic ball. Dirty water is poured inside, and the unit is shut; the ball then absorbs sunlight, which causes the dirty water inside to evaporate. Evaporation causes contaminants to separate from the water, generating potable water in the form of condensation, which can be collected and stored, ready for drinking. The Solarball can produce .79 gallons (3 liters) of clean water per day.
Treehugger reports that because the Solarball’s output capacity is limited, it would take more than one unit per person to satisfy a household’s daily drinking and cooking needs. Nevertheless, this design seems a real step in the right direction, in terms of appropriate technology for those currently lacking access to clean drinking water.
The Solarball was developed over the course of Liow’s final year during his bachelor’s degree in industrial design, and (according to Robaid) has been named as a finalist in the 2011 Australian Design Awards/James Dyson Award. It is also scheduled for exhibition next month at the Milan International Design Fair.