What’s hotter than Italian-designer Gabriel Diamanti talking about a solar-powered desalination device for the 99%? Not much, except for the Eliodomestico that he built during his graduate studies at the Milan Polytechnic in 2005.
Following extensive travel to parts of the world that can no longer take fresh water supplies for granted, like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and many other parts of the Middle East, Diamanti decided to build an open-source solar still that converts sea water into fresh water using nothing but sunlight.
5 Liters of Fresh Water Every Day
The Eliodomestico is a simple solar oven that converts 5 liters of salt water into fresh water every day. It is made of clay and other readily-available materials, needs no electricity or filtration devices to work, and has nary a moving part.
This is how it works (be sure to check out Diamanti’s video since he does a much better job of explaining the concept):
On top of the device is a black boiler with a water-tight cap. Sea water is poured into a water inlet and the cap is sealed so that no steam can escape. Both temperature and pressure grow within the boiler throughout the day and the lid acts as a condenser that produces steam, which is then fed into a clay dish through a metal pipe.
At the end of the day, 5 liters of potable water is ready to use.
Sun and Sea Water
Diamanti made the design simple and open-source so that people all over the world can make the Eliodomestico their own. As such the concept is made to evolve depending on local circumstances.
With 1.7 billion people living in areas that have sapped groundwater supplies, this device could promote decentralization of water supplies and promote self-subsistence.
Of course it’s necessary to have access to a lot of sun and sea water in order to make this home desalination device feasible.
Luckily in the MENA region, water scarcity is usually coupled with vast supplies of solar energy and there are several bodies of salt water in our region, so this is an excellent solution for our water-insecure population.