Solar Powered Ball Purifies Dirty Water

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.


image via Monash University

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.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

    • Glenribbeen

      This will cost money and as such is very limited in it’s use. The need’s of the people it’s aimed at is immense but they can’t pay even to get this if it costs more than $0.50 – that’s the take-home pay for many families where this is most needed.

      • Dsto78

        Yeah, good point, so lets do nothing and stop trying to help.

    • Perfect for camping. Take this and the ice cream ball. On a more serious note, it is great to make clean water more available to everyone.

    • Perfect for camping. Take this and the ice cream ball. On a more serious note, it is great to make clean water more available to everyone.

    • Pfiddle

      My point is not about doing nothing it’s about making these available to the least well off. I’ve spent time in places where even a dollar was a Lot of money. nWater collected in clear plastic bottles and left in the sun for 5 hours will clean it too.not as well but for free. A well sunk and a handpump on it can provide for hundreds at a low cost.nEducation on both sides of the equation is needed. nAs I’ve said I’ve seen help in action and it is often wrong or it goes to the wrong people.

      • Googloony

        Water in plastic bottles in the sun MAY get rid of a few minor bacteria but it’s main effect will be tou00a0nadd a bucket load of chemicals from the plastic andu00a0give people a false sense of security. My only problem with the design is that round is a very space inefficient design which would limit its use for any people who move around at all; perhaps Could be flattened out a bit without too much loss of efficiency?nExcellent concept Johnathon!

    • Seems a little counter intuitive to make it shaped like a ball. Also, why the fuck is it shaped like a ball?

      • Glenribbeen

        Water condenses in the upper area I suppose and then flows down sides to collect in areas that can be tapped. If it was any other shape it would not work nearly as efficiently.nAs I’ve said below as pfiddle – ‘Education on both sides of the equation is needed’. nThanks Gavin for helpin’ out.

    • 65aurzurg

      Non mi interessa lato tecnico oppure come usarla,per me e importante che ce movimento!Grazie!

    • Ruanhippledipple

      ..okay, now if i costs fifty cents to make, then print the fifty cents to make it, let them make it, and give them the fifty cents to make it, and then give it to them, to use, it’s ver simple… while your at it control inflation while you print the money……you do this for every evil in the world, then your evil world is not longer in existence……..

    • u00a0Let us look it in another perspective guys. It also may come in hand. When time comes that we need clean water, this could be a big help. Also, it is green energy. it might cost you a bit but it might help you a lot in the near future.nnGrea post.