Solvatten is a combined portable water treatment and water heating system that has been designed for off-grid household use in the developing world. It is an easy, innovative solution that provides access to clean, hot water to people worldwide. Thanks to its durable design, Solvatten is an affordable and convenient way to get clean, hot water.
In the developing world, millions of primarily women and children must walk dozens of miles each day to fetch water and firewood. Reducing the daily use of firewood for heating water and utilizing a solution that can be used on unimproved water sources closer to home makes life much easier for these people. Solvatten has an average lifespan of 7-10 years, essential during the first years of life when children are at their most susceptible to waterborne diseases.
It is well-documented that solar energy can be an effective method of cleaning contaminated water. The ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by sunlight destroys the formation of DNA linkages in microorganisms, preventing them from reproducing and rendering them harmless. If you also factor in the sun’s ability to rapidly heat water and you have Solvatten’s recipe or success.
Solvatten makes water safe AND hot — up to 75°C/167°F. Water at this temperature has been freed of microorganisms and is perfect for a number of household and hygiene purposes including cooking, hand washing, bathing, and cleaning. Once the water has been purified, an indicator tells the user when it is complete. The water will cool down quickly in the shade in order to be used as drinking water. Solvatten can be used on partly cloudy days, but not during heavy rain or thick cloud cover.
Each unit contains two 5-litre containers, each of which can be filled with water through an opening that houses a 35 micron fabric filter.
The unit is then placed in direct sunlight, which simultaneously heats the water and exposes it to ultraviolet radiation.
The combination of heat and UV light is a highly-effective means of purifying water and, depending on conditions, the water will be free of pathogenic material in 2-6 hours.
An indicator tells the user when the treatment process is complete – a sad, red face changes to a happy, green face, making it easy for even the smallest children to understand.
The lack of safe water leading to poor hygiene and poor health are daily challenges for millions of people living in poverty. Worldwide, 1 of 3 people live without reliable access to electricity and 1 out of 8 people live without access to safe, clean water at home.
Due to the lack of a reliable energy infrastructure in the developing world, people use natural resources – such as wood and charcoal – for cooking, washing and heating water. Up to 70% of the energy used by a typical home in Sub-Saharan Africa is used for these purposes. This strong dependence on natural resources leads to numerous personal issues including smoke inhalation and burn injuries. It also increases carbon dioxide emissions and leads to deforestation, which gravely impact environmental issues. Indoor plumbing and secure electricity are distant dreams for far too many people.
People worldwide who use either an unimproved water source or an improved source that is fecally-contaminated (WHO)
Number of people – 38% of the world’s population – who are estimated to rely on the traditional use of wood and charcoal
Number of people who live on less than $1.90 a day (WorldBank)
Number of people who die of illnesses caused by air pollution from cooking over an open fire
The impact from Solvatten has been thoroughly measured from the start. What makes the Solvatten solution unique from other water treatment devices is that users can immediately understand how to use it effectively. Using Solvatten becomes a habit. Lasting impacts can only be achieved when a solution addresses both human wants and human needs. High quality, innovative design, and aesthetic value are central to winning hearts and motivating people to change habits and move towards something better.
Using Solvatten betters the everyday lives of individuals and entire communities, and its impact extends to the environment surrounding them. Solvatten contributes to achieving each of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Households with access to safe + hot water → improved hygiene → better health → better quality of life.
Safe water and improved hygiene practices will reduce diarrhea and other poverty-related diseases (SDG 3).
The health benefits and the time and money saved with Solvatten will provide time for income-generating activities and give more girls the opportunity to go to school. Women save three hours a day when using Solvatten. Less time spent finding fuel in unsafe locations means less exposure to possible gender-based violence (SDG 5).
Apart from being a technology that purifies water to higher levels than WHO guidelines for safe water, Solvatten also recognizes the importance of heated water for hygiene and health (SDG 6).
Solvatten runs on 100% green power, the sun (SDG 7).
Using Solvatten will provide time and opportunity for income-generating activities (SDG 8)
Solvatten is bridging humanitarian aid and development while recognizing and utilizing the water-energy nexus, leading to resource efficiency (SDG 9).
The notion and comfort of having safe, hot water at home is a distant dream for more than a billion people. Equality means equal access to the basics that create a dignified life (SDG 10).
Being energy and water efficient, Solvatten eases the pressures that increasing urbanization puts on energy and fresh water supplies. It also makes urban communities less vulnerable to utility service cuts and water- related disasters (SDG 11).
Solvatten improves water, energy, and time efficiency (SDG 12).
Over 800 million households worldwide currently use solid fuels. For every one of these households CO2 emissions could be reduced by 1 ton per year if they changed from heating/boiling with solid fuels to using Solvatten (SDG 11).
By reducing CO2 emissions, Solvatten reduces ocean acidification which negatively impacts ocean ecosystems. Also plastic bottles can be used less when treating water at home instead (SDG 14).
People have to coexist with very few resources which can lead to conflicts over water and fuelwood. Going solar with Solvatten is helping to drive down conflict by reducing people’s need for fuel, water and helping to build healthier families and communities (SDG 11).
Since 2009, Solvatten has reduced the need to burn over 1,500 hectares of forest (SDG 15).
The UN has identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals which serve as a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Solvatten is proud to contribute to each of these goals.
Solvatten tackles some of the underlying factors that keep people in poverty. It improves health and productivity and it saves money and time, aiding people in lifting themselves out of poverty.
Poor hygiene and lack of safe water play a big role in creating and exacerbating malnutrition, especially among children. Solvatten directly tackles waterborne and hygiene-related diseases like intestinal worms and dysentery. Additionally, heated water makes the transition from breast milk easier and less risky.
Access to safe water is essential for health. Solvatten reduces the incidence of diarrhea and other poverty-related diseases. Having safe water improves hygiene practices, further reducing vulnerability to major infectious diseases.
Access to safe water close to home improves school attendance due to fewer sick days and a reduced need to rely on children for arduous domestic activities such as collecting firewood and bringing water from distant sources.
Having water at home reduces the need for women to journey to isolated areas where they are vulnerable to gender-based violence. Women save up to 3 hours a day when using Solvatten. This time savings and a reduced rate of incapacitation due to illness provides women with time for income-generating activities and gives more girls the opportunity to attend school.
While this goal is inherent in our charter, apart from being a technology that purifies water to the higher levels than WHO guidelines sets out for safe drinking water, Solvatten also solves the issue of providing heated water for better hygiene and improved health.
Solvatten relies on 100% green power – the sun. By replacing the need to burn wood or charcoal to heat water, Solvatten reduces the use of dirtier energy in favor of cleaner solar power.
The reduction in time spent accessing clean water provides time and opportunity for increased education and for income-generating activities.
The notion and comfort of having safe, hot water at home is a distant dream for more than a billion people. Equality means equal access to the basics that create a dignified life and Solvatten helps provide that access.
Being energy and water efficient, Solvatten eases the pressures that increasing urbanization puts on energy production and fresh water supplies. Aside from the benefits provided to rural communities, it also makes urban communities less vulnerable to utility service cuts and water-related disasters.
By enabling use of local water sources, the Solvatten Solar Water Safe delivers a more complete usage of all available resources – safely and efficiently.
Over 800 million households worldwide currently use solid fuels. For every one of these households CO2 emissions could be reduced by 1 ton per year if they changed from heating/boiling with solid fuels to using Solvatten. Since 2009, Solvatten has reduced the need to burn over 1,500 hectares of forest, helping to reduce climate impact.
By reducing CO2 emissions, Solvatten reduces ocean acidification which negatively impacts ocean ecosystems. Additionally, by enabling communities to more fully use their available water, Solvatten helps eliminate the need for bottled water, reducing the waste that makes its way into the oceans.
People have to coexist with very few resources which can lead to conflicts over water and foraged fuel sources. Going solar with Solvatten is helping to drive down conflict by reducing people’s need for remote fuel and water while helping to build healthier families and communities.
Injustice thrives in poverty and conflict. Through the use of the Solvatten Solar Water Safe, we are helping to reduce opportunities for conflicts to arise by minimizing the need to travel across regions for water and fuel. Additionally, less time spent gathering water and fuel means more time for income-producing activities that help empower communities and aid them in the turn towards justice.
Solvatten engages people, organizations, and other companies throughout the world to solve real problems in the developing world. This is creating awareness, practical action and business opportunities locally and internationally. What’s more, we do not work in developmental silos – but instead actively seek to bridge development issues.
Solvatten works by incorporating three established methods for treating water-
Solvatten is 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.
Solvatten is a patented technology with a unique design that has many competitive advantages over other safe water solutions. 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.
Solvatten is both a limited company and a not-for-profit fundraising organization, both of which share a combined mission to provide clean, safe and hot water in an environment friendly way to the many people living without it.
Yes, simply click “Donate” in the menu and take action. Thank you for supporting our mission to provide people living in developing countries with safe and hot water in a portable, environmentally-friendly way.
We have a proud history of successful corporate partnerships with a wide range of companies – read about some of those projects here. Many of our partners use Solvatten as a means to reduce their carbon footprint, develop a corporate responsibility program, or safeguard the health of their employees working in developing countries. If you would like to initiate a corporate partnership, please contact us!
Solvatten is designed to be robust and withstand the harsh conditions where it is frequently used. One of the goals when designing Solvatten was to ensure that it would last the length of early childhood – i.e. beyond the age of five. Below the age of five is when 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.
The amount of E-coli bacteria in a water sample gives an indication of its biological quality. The presence of E-coli indicates fecal 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, and the WHO standard for safe drinking water is less than 1 colony/ 100ml. Solvatten has been tested using samples containing more than 200,000 colonies/100 ml – after treatment, the tests 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.
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.
Solvatten’s dimensions are 36 x 47 x 13 cm (14 x 18.5 x 5 inches), it weighs 2.70 kg (6 lbs) unfilled and can hold 10 litres of water.
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.
Solvatten works best in areas where there is a lot of sunshine. Temperature is often not a limiting factor (we have successfully used Solvatten in Sweden!) but warmth helps speed up the purification process. Altitude does not affect usage, and we have many units currently operational in both mountain areas and lowlands.
No, not at all.
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.
Yes, the materials used to make Solvatten are fully approved by the FDA.
No, none whatsoever.
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.
Yes, however WHO recommends consumption within 24 hours for any treated water.
Solvatten is actively used by a variety of different sectors. For example, many schools, health centres, disaster-relief organizations and refugee camps own and use Solvatten every day.