As designer Gabriele Diamanti discovered during his travels through developing countries, fresh water is hard to come by. This inspired him to create a solution that could use local materials, was easy to use and utilized what resource these locations often have in abundance — lots of sunshine.
His invention is the solar oven, which uses the sun's power to condense the salt water inside into drinkable water.
The product, dubbed Eliodomestico, is expected deliver up to a gallon of fresh drinking water per day. The components and process are simple, acting much like an upside-down coffee maker. You fill the black boiler section with salty water and tighten the cap. During the day as the heat from the sun rises, the water builds up steam pressure and the steam is forced down through a pipe condensing into the collection lid.
Even the collection lid is designed with a dual purpose. After filled with fresh water, It is specifically designed to be carried on a person's head — a popular form of transport in many developing communties.
For Diamanti, his goals were simple. He wanted to create a product that was made with widely available materials and that required no electricity or complex parts so that they could be built and maintained by local communities to help local economies. His other requirement was that the product be open sourced so the design could change or be modified by anyone in any community so that it makes sense for their needs.
Ultimately Diamanti hopes that NGO's could be used to distribute the plans to local communities and is looking for funding to help create start-ups that would help develop the ovens on a larger scale and implement field testing.
While Diamanti won a Core 77 Design award and placing as a finalist at the Prix Emile Hermes competition awarding sustainable design innovation, he is very clear that the product is not about him:
"It's an open-source project. That means anyone can modify and upgrade it. So it will always be a work in progress."
That flexibility is an attractive part of the device — it can involve individual communities in decision making about what works for them and also carries with it the potential for further modification to use the basic design to purify other forms of water into fresh, drinking water.
The video clip below shows how the oven has come together.