Solar-Powered Purifier Gives Clean Water for Disaster Relief

September 15, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

SOLAR FILTER: Integrated photovoltaic solar panels charge the Solar Container 24-volt batteries to provide clean, disease-free water in disaster relief efforts. (Trunz Water Systems AG)
SOLAR FILTER: Integrated photovoltaic solar panels charge the Solar Container 24-volt batteries to provide clean, disease-free water in disaster relief efforts. (Trunz Water Systems AG)
A new water purifier can produce more than 8,000 gallons of virus-free drinking water per day without fuel or a generator and runs completely on solar or wind power.

The Solar Container is designed for use in disaster stricken areas where conventional energy sources are often too expensive or completely unavailable.

Manufacturers of the purifier say that it can help eliminate the spread of water transmitted diseases, provide farmers with desalinated water, and reduce logistical planning of relief efforts. The device can also produce enough excess energy to charge communication equipment.

Many disaster relief organizations—such as USAID, CARE, and the United Nations—have reported that it is often a struggle to provide victims with enough clean drinking water. In Pakistan, for example, last month’s flood forced relief workers to either transport clean water in trucks over rough roads or treat contaminated flood water with single-use water purification tablets.

Similarly, many Haitian residents still recovering from the country’s massive earthquake earlier this year still rely on temporary aboveground pipes for drinking water. Unfortunately, these pipes often rupture, leaving disaster victims without a reliable source of clean, disease-free water.

The Solar Container provides relief efforts with a more reliable solution. Through a series of filters and eight reverse osmosis membranes, the device can utilize saltwater and effectively remove large matter, bacteria, viruses, salts, and even dangerous chemicals.

Since it runs completely on renewable solar and wind power, the Solar Container eliminates the need for follow-up logistical attention that is often required for many generator- or fuel-powered devices.

The product is a joint venture between Spectra Watermakers—a California-based reverse osmosis company—and Swiss manufacturer, Trunz Water Systems. They say the Solar Container meets FEMA requirements as outlined in the agency’s Operational Requirements Document from April 2009.

The Solar Container makes clean water available virtually anywhere and is designed to work in any environment. The filtering equipment is installed in a sealed, lockable, air-conditioned chamber that allows it to withstand even the harshest desert conditions.

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