Solar Bottle, INdex Awards, Solar Water-purifying drinking container, Alberto Medo and Francisco Gomez Paz, Solar Water Bottle

Good design can save lives and improve human society. That’s the thought behind the Solar Bottle by Italian designers Alberto Medo and Francisco Gomez Paz. Winner of a 2007 INDEX award, the sleekly designed Solar Bottle uses simple solar technology to purify dirty drinking water and prevent water-born diseases.

In developing countries, microorganisms are responsible for 2.5 million deaths per year. Case studies around the globe have shown that the purifying drinking water through UV radiation can significantly decrease the incidence of fatal dehydration from water-born diseases like diarrhea, cholera, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and dysentery. The Solar Bottle design builds off of the SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection) process. Developed by the Department of Water and Sanitation at the Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Science and Research, SODIS works with the sun to allow UV-A radiation and increased temperature to destroy pathogenic microorganisms in drinking water.

The slim PET container holds 4 liters of water and can be easily arranged back-to-back for carry. A specially designed handle allows balanced transport and doubles as a stand to provide optimal solar incidence. UV-A exposure and thermal gain are maximized with a bi-color blown injection molding that creates both a transparent side and a dark, heat-absorbing side. Iconic graphics on the back of the container provide directions for proper usage.

With a sixth of the world’s population lacking safe drinking water, the SODIS process provides a sustainable solution and the Solar Bottle increases the ease of implementation. Designers Alberto Medo and Francisco Gomez Paz have perfected a profoundly simple idea – disinfect dirty water with available resources – with intent and good design that has the potential to save millions of lives.

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  1. Michael Randle July 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Two of these devices are very attractive to those of us in arid environments. The Dew-catcher and solar purifiers are both the wave of the future.

  2. abiri April 6, 2009 at 7:47 am

    i want to know more adout solar purification of water

  3. Grumpygal August 3, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    A great invention especially for those living in African countries, however, I cannot find an outlet for these bottles. A few teachers are visiting two schools in Mbuaro, Kenya and would like to be able to provide some for their use within the school.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  4. Oscar July 25, 2008 at 5:16 am

    Can such be availed in Kenya? There are areas where accessing clean water is a problem especially in the susaharan Africa, It would be my request if such services could be availed or donated in our areas down here in Kenya. Please let me know if it is possible to have such in Kenya. I’m Dickens Odhiambo Otieno, working with Family Aids Care and Education Services-A program of University of California in Sans Francisco in Collaboration with kenya Medical Research Institute.
    Thanks, This product looks very interesting and I believe it could be of importance in such an area.

  5. samredman June 3, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I have concerns regarding possible toxic effects from PET water bottles being left in the sun, causing the plastic to release toxic materials into the water. While most articles I have seen do tout the safety of PET bottles, I have my own doubts. On several occasions I have left cases of bottled water in PET containers outside in the hot Texas sun (and sometimes inside of a closed glass-windowed vehicle, where the heat gets so hot it can melt an empty plastic bottle). After a case of water has been left in those sun-heated conditions, the bottles of water have to be disposed of, because it becomes quicky obvious that chemicals have been released into the water. At the first mouthful, that water actually causes the mouth and tongue to experience numbness and people who consume a few bottles of such water complain of feeling ill. Now, maybe the type of PET found in the so-called disposable (or recyclable) PET bottles is of an inferior grade and what they plan for this invention is a higher quality which is not affected by the heat (or the uv rays). Let’s hope they check that out before wide spread distribution.

  6. Jeff Brown November 20, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    This is the Ferrari of water bottles. Trust the Italians to come up with such a beautiful and functional design! We should not discard this design simply because it may be more expensive to produce. It may still be far less expensive, and practical, than bore holes, sand filters and the like.

    I wonder if the designers have run any experiments with the bottles? How effective is it at eliminating pathogens? Research shows that a reflective backing is actually more effective than a black backing, unless, the termperature can be raised to more than 50 degress C by the dark backing.

    What about redesigning the bottle, to incorporate a slight parabolic, with a reflective bakcing, that would enhance the solar radiation effect? The problem is that some parasitic cysts/eggs/oocysts are highly resistant to UV radiation. For example, the Ascaris egg needs 8.5 W/M2 of 254 nm to be destroyed. Can this bottle do that?

  7. Lisa November 9, 2007 at 2:33 am

    I think this is a good idea but I also agree with alot of the comments here that a greener and low tech, economical solution is needed to purify drinking water around the world. I found this unique site online which offers really simple, eco friendly, low tech water purifier crocks made from terracotta /ceramic clay with activated carbon water filter candles. Check it out …

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  9. osama alwaeth September 10, 2007 at 3:53 am

    we need to get some more informations on how to get samples and whats its price and with whom we should contact because we have in our country a cholera infection and i think this is just the right time for such stuff ,please advice.

  10. bordoni hugo September 9, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    son inteligentisimos con su invento , pero les cuento que en varios paises centroamericanos donde no hay agua potable hace mas de 30 anos que utilisan los envases de plastico ejemplo coca pepsi sacan el agua de los rios lagos la ponen al sol unas horas y tienen agua potable. asi que ustedes no inventaron nada solo copiaron para hacer dinero con los estupidos consumadores .

  11. Elle September 7, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Another design feature of these bottles v. regular plastic bottles, are the three tunnels in the center of the designed bottles. Those tunnels allow heat to get to the center of the bottle, which allows for more water volume to be treated. A regular bottle would take longer to heat in the sun, and the center of the water volume might not reach the optimal temp. I think these bottles are a great idea. They also use PET plastic, which can be recycled, and part of its content at the factory is recycled to make more PET plastic. Using plastic also lessens the weight of the bottles, making it easier to carry more of them if necessary.

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  15. lucy September 4, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Talking is much easier than thinking, and most of your comments prove that.
    Is not just the look of it, the design solves basic functional problems that standard bottles don’t, such as transportation. One person can easlily carry four of these bottles, and considering that each Solar bottle holds 4 litres that means that an adult can carry up to 16 litres of water … now try to carry 10 regular water bottles and tell me how easy that is.
    Then the handle design allows users to set the proper angulation for best sun exposure and therefore better purifying effect, universal pictograms explain with no words how the bottle works and which is best angulation. You don’t get neither of these functions with regular bottles.
    Finally is most likely not intended to be financed by the final users but by governments and ongs that are constantly trying to increase the quality of life of these people and save as many lives as possible. Mass manufacturing these bottles should be be quite affordable. I think that is great to see designers investing time and energy in giving proved succesfull processes such as SODIS an optimal shape and look, maybe more of us should do the same.

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  18. Vinay Gupta September 3, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    These things can make a really big difference. We use them as part of our refugee housing system, the Hexayurt – we’re looking for the best solar pasteurizers to fit in with the rest of the components to get people all the things they need to survive and thrive.

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  26. tom September 1, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Stylish design and gullible benefactors always wins out over good sense and responsible resource use!

    And Dr. Meegan, pasteurization has existed well before the 1990s.

  27. John August 31, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    My, we’re a cynical bunch. Of course economics is always a part of the problem, but perhaps these could be mass-produced at a reasonable cost, and if as it appears, their design is more efficient and easier to carry than standard bottles, perhaps the extra cost is worth it.

    Like it or not, sexy product design can sell a humanitarian purchase a lot more effectively than whiny pleas in the co-op. If such a stylish design inspires someone (or someones) to donate the money to have masses of these shipped to the third world, I’m all for it.

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  29. Michael August 31, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Beautiful design!

    Now who is going to pay to manufacture, distribute and educate the poorest and least educated people in the world on how to use the water containers and properly maintain them? “Maybe the the bleeding-heart Bush Administration” will foot the bill. The US government and Bush Administration did such a stellar job with hurricane Katrina!!! I trust them with my life, so should the third-world countries as well.

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  32. Dr Mike Meegan August 31, 2007 at 4:35 am

    If you look at the scientific evidence around this technology published in scientific journals it is the Royal College of Surgeons and ICROSS who pioneered this research in the 1990s. They are also leading the International multi country country study bringing the technology to the poor wprld for free. They did all the research firstly in laboratories then in Africa in controlled trials, trials that have now been funded by the EU.
    the collaborations include Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), Ireland

    University of Ulster (UU), United Kingdom

    CSIR Environmentek, South Africa

    EAWAG, Switzerland

    The Institute of Water and Sanitation Development (IWSD), Zimbabwe

    Plataforma Solar de Almería (CIEMAT-PSA), Spain

    University of Leicester (UL), United Kingdom

    The International Commission for the Relief of Suffering & Starvation (ICROSS), Kenya

    University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), Spain

    The technology is ordinary plastc bottles already demonstrated by the leaders of that team. Its not about creating commercial products but solutions that those living in absolute poverty can afford.

  33. Dr Mike Meegan August 31, 2007 at 4:22 am

    This is a beautiful looking bottle. For the billions however without money who really need this technology, we must turn to the first clinical control trials and the science behind the technology. video on

    While this beautiful design may be fantastic for tourists the technology works perfectly and was tested with simple ordinary plastic bottles.

  34. tom August 30, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    This can easily be done w/o a fancy over-designed bottle. It’s called the pasteurization of water and they certainly didn’t come up with the idea. Even the sodis website ( use simple bottles as an example. Absolutely no need for custom, expensive to produce bottles when common bottles are already available in spades.

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