Solar Still Makes Water Purification Easy, Works Like an Upside-Down Coffee Maker

The impending water crisis will threaten half of humanity by 2030; limited water supplies have already sparked deadly conflict in Africa. Of the designs to make water collection and purification easy, dependable and affordable, this solar still from designer Gabriele Diamanti is among the best. It requires neither filters nor electricity and purifies 5 liters of water a day.

It's called the Eliodomestico, and it's quite simple. Pour water into the spout at the top and walk away. Thanks to the circular top, no matter the time of day, it's hit by maximum sunlight. The heat turns the water into steam, which travels down through a nozzle and condenses against the lid of the bowl at the bottom of the still. At the end of the day, the bowl is full of safe, potable water.

Diamanti specially designed the bowl to be easily carried on one's head, making its transport easier. But he also imagines an Eliodomestico for every household, so the water wouldn't have to be transported very far, anyway. The still is made from terracotta and zinc-plated metal sheet.

Diamanti would like to see the design be built by local workers, and so he has created it under a Creative Commons license- everyone is free to use and share the Eliodomestico. The design is one of twelve finalists in this year's Prix Emile Hermès.

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