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.

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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.

+ Solar Bottle