How does it work?
Solvatten works by incorporating three established methods for treating water;
Filtration: water is poured in through a hole housing a fabric filter that catches larger particles.
Heat pasteurization: heat from the sun warms up the water, killing pathogenic material.
UV-disinfection: The high energy associated with UV sunlight causes damage to the DNA of micro-organisms, rendering them unable to reproduce or infect.
Solvatten is therefore very easy to use: fill it up and lay it in the sun, then simply wait for the green smiley face indicator to show that the water is clean. What’s more, the simplicity and efficacy of these treatment methods make Solvatten highly reliable - see the technical questions below to learn more about the amount of contamination that can be treated.
What makes Solvatten a better solution?
Solvatten doesn’t simply treat water, it strengthens families, saves money for those who have little, and diminishes harmful environmental practices. Solvatten brings families the basic clean and hot water infrastructure that we all need - water for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
The benefits of Solvatten are diverse and many. These are subdivided into categories below:
What is the organisational structure of Solvatten?
Solvatten is both a limited company and a not-for-profit fundraising organisation, both of which share a combined vision of bringing safe, hot water to the billion people who need it.
Solvatten AB is a joint stock company owned by shareholders and managed by the inventor of Solvatten, Petra Wadström. Solvatten AB is responsible for producing Solvatten and selling to individuals, companies and organisations such as the UN and Governments.
Solvatten Charitable Foundation focuses strictly on humanitarian projects that deliver practical solutions for people living without access to clean water. Solvatten AB supports the foundation and its campaigns by providing Solvatten units at a reduced cost. The Solvatten Charitable Foundation conducts fundraising and administers the donations received for Solvatten Safe Water Campaigns. The Solvatten Charitable Foundation is regulated by the Swedish County Administrative Board, which ensures the highest possible return on generosity, cost discipline and accountability.
Donations made in the US are administered by the Solvatten Charitable Foundation USA, a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions to Solvatten Charitable Foundation USA are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Technical and practical questions
How long does Solvatten typically last?
Solvatten is designed to be robust and withstand the harsh conditions of where it is often used. One of the goals when designing Solvatten was to ensure that it would last the length of a childhood - i.e. beyond on the age of five, below which children are highly susceptible to the consequences of water related diseases. On average, a Solvatten unit lasts seven years, but if handled with care it can last much longer.
What level of contamination can be treated?
The amount of E-coli bacteria in a water sample gives an indication of its biological quality. The presence of E-coli indicates faecal contamination by people or other warm blooded animals, and the presence of other, possibly more dangerous, pathogenic organisms.
To give an indication of scale and what is considered to be a safe contact level, the higher standard for bathing waters in the EU is less than 100 E-coli colonies/ 100ml, whilst the WHO safe drinking water standard is less than 1 colony/ 100ml.
Solvatten has been tested using samples containing more than 200,000 colonies/100 ml – the results of this test showed that the treated water met the WHO’s safe drinking water standards of less than 1 colony/ 100ml.
Furthermore, Solvatten belongs to an exceptionally small group of water treatment systems that can treat highly resistant forms of bacteria, viruses and parasites. USEPA certified tests conducted in California in 2014 showed that water treated by Solvatten reached the ‘Highly protective’ category, eliminating parasites, virus and E-coli. By comparison, chlorine and most filters are not able to achieve this level of protection.
Is there a need for maintenance or spare parts?
The only part that may need replacing is the filter, which can be easily replaced with a folded piece of locally sourced cloth.
We also recommend cleaning inside Solvatten periodically, so that it continues working efficiently. This is easy to do; simply add a handful of dry beans, rice or lentils and some water to the unit, before shaking and rinsing. Soft woollen balls are another alternative here. Do not use sand, as it may scratch the surface, and do not use detergents.
What is the size, weight and volume of Solvatten?
Solvatten’s dimensions are 36 x 47 x 13 cm, it weighs 2.70 kg unfilled and can hold 10 litres of water.
How long does it take before the water is safe to drink?
Safe, hot water is achieved in 2-4 hours when the sun is shining, 5-6 hours when it is partly cloudy. Under optimal conditions Solvatten can be used four times a day, producing 40 litres. Solvatten does not work effectively during heavy cloud cover or rain.
Are there any geographical limitations to using Solvatten?
Solvatten works best in areas where there is lots of sunshine. Temperature is often not a limiting factor (we have used Solvatten in Sweden!) but warmth helps speed-up the purification process. Altitude does not affect useage, with many units currently operational in both mountain areas and lowlands.
Does the water treatment process affect taste?
No, not at all.
Can Solvatten be used for other purposes?
Yes, people have found lots of innovative uses. For example, Solvatten is a popular tool amongst midwives who use the hot water when delivering babies.
Is Solvatten FDA approved?
Yes, the materials used to make Solvatten are fully approved by the FDA.
Are any harmful chemicals produced following exposure to the sun?
No, none whatsoever.
Is the technique for using Solvatten easy to learn?
Yes, it is very straightforward and graphic instructions are printed on the unit. To date we have printed instructions in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Urdu, Hindi and Swahili.
Is the water safe the day after treatment?
Yes, however WHO recommends consumption within 24 hours for any treated water.
Apart from households, where else can Solvatten be used?
Solvatten is actively used by a variety of different sectors. For example, many schools, health centres, disaster-relief organisations and refugee camps own and use Solvatten every day.