Gabriele Diamanti’s Eliodomestico is an open-sourced project designed to transform salt water to fresh water for people in developing countries.

Though Diamanti used terra cotta for a large portion of the design, that could be changed to accommodate material availability in other regions.

Salt water is poured into the black, watertight boiler in the morning.

During the day, steam condenses, and is forced down the nozzle into the lid below.

This basin, which holds the clean water, was designed to be carried on the head.

Up to five liters of clean drinking water can be produced daily.

Diamanti hopes that craftspeople will adapt his design to suit their region.

A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable

Gabriele Diamanti hopes to see local craftsmen all over the world adapt his design.

“Projects ‘for the 90%’ mostly fall somewhere between two extremes: charity and business,” designer Gabriele Diamanti tells Co.Design. “Neither was my inspiration!” Instead, spurred on by his own extensive travel and friends’ involvement in NGOs, he developed a fascination with global water scarcity as a graduate student at Milan Polytechnic in 2005; he recently decided to pursue his interest again and the result is Eliodomestico, an open-source variation on a solar still.

It functions by filling the black boiler with salty sea water in the morning, then tightening the cap. As the temperature and pressure grows, steam is forced downwards through a connection pipe and collects in the lid, which acts as a condenser, turning the steam into fresh water. Once Diamanti established the fundamentals were sound, he experimented with a series of concepts for the aesthetic of the object. “My goal was to design something friendly and recognizable for the users,” he explains. “The process developed quite naturally to determine the current shape; every detail is there for a reason, so the form, as well as production techniques, represent a compromise between technical and traditional.” Primary field studies in sub-Saharan Africa revealed the habit of carrying goods on the head--also a common practice in other areas around the world--and this was integrated into Eliodomestico’s plan. And while solar stills aren’t a totally new concept, Diamanti says it’s rare to find them in a domestic context rather than in missions or hospitals, or as large plants overseen by qualified personnel that serve entire communities. “I tried to make something for a real household that could be operated directly by the families,” he says.

The project recently won a Core77 Design Award for Social Impact; already, Diamanti has received international feedback, and hopes to see locals adapt and modify the design to take advantage of their own readily available materials and native environments. “The idea is that instructions for the project can be delivered to craftsmen” with the help of NGOs, he says, then a micro-credit program could be established to finance small-scale start-ups specializing in production. “So the NGO is the spark, micro-credit is the fuse, the local craftsmen are the bomb!”

Add New Comment

49 Comments

  • Domino Sariman

    Can get the money to buy, it will be given to our people on the coast and islands,but where can we buy? Or get taught how to make it ? 5 liters of water per day is already magic.

  • Usman Ghani

    it seems nice but can we use it be useful to remove the salt from salty water of drought area?

  • MechE

    5 liters per day is a severely limited flow rate. And presumably this a maximum flow rate on a very sunny day.  An average adult needs 2 - 3 liters of drinking water per day and an average household in a developing country easily has 5 - 10 people.

  • jcarlos

    Maybe it could use Fresnel Lenses to get higher evaporation rates or even produce it in greater volumes.

  • Highrack44

    does anyone know where i can get one in the u.s.a.? it always the same story with no where to get it?

  • B Taki

    This is a great design and being from a LDC, I welcome the product. This is the product for LDC, especially in countries where there is lot of sunshine and temperatures are going up year by year. The only problem I could see is the cost, US$50 would be around SBD$337 (Solomon Islands). If we can have the design and then look at other available cheaper materials this would lower the cost further.

  • Jed Building Bridges

    Congratulations !!

    Im very much impressed and inspired by your work.

    My name is Joshua Guinto. YOu may call me Jed. Im from the PHilippines and a specialist of sustainable village technologies. I am now serving as technical consultant for a project for the flooded areas of Bulacan with the NGO named Save the Children. Among our many interventions would be the installation of water purification projects to help the affected families have a secured supply of safe drinking water even in times of the floods. The project area has two active pottery shops.This model of yours may come handy along the rain water harvesting systems that we may install.

    How could we avail of your technology? Do you provide training services? or production franchise? I can mobilise a good pool of local craftsmen here as i am a craftsman myself.

    On my end, im into design and fabrication of clay cookstoves on top of my projects on gardening and permaculture. You may see some of my work in 2010 at www.holeyroket.wordpress.com.

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Best

    Jed

    jed.building.bridges@gmail.com

  • Gean Jones

    Where can I purchase A SOLAR WATER DISTILLER by GABRIELE DIAMANTE.I live in WEST TEXAS and we are loosing water.more each year & I like the appearance of his marvelous design.I want one.Jean Jones

  • Winkelman

    The issue not addressed is about the salt
    and the other minerals that will deposit IN the evaporator. . .Eventually it
    will clog up and because of the design it can not easily be removed. Sea water
    contains I think 2-4% dissolved solids. With an average of 3 % after
    evaporating about 500 L of sea water the evaporator will be nearly full of salt
    and mineral crystals(one must consider that the salt is denser than water and
    takes less volume that water does). . . Its closed design prevents removing the
    salts. 

    Add to this that the salt crystals will replace the water the evaporator
    will be able to deliver less and less fresh water as the device is used. . .@ 250
    L input, correcting for the density of the salt the available waterspace is
    roughly 3,5 L .  .  .  .of
    the top of my head.

  • S Eckrich

    Where can we find information about obtaining this awesome device if we are a social enterprise working abroad?

  • PowellG

    Clever!  Actually a better modification would be to have a black ceramic bowl and a clear glass lid.  And maybe a bit more coil in the copper tube to promote cooling condensation.

  • Herb Schwabe

    Perhaps they will realize that there will be cloudy days and keep a reserve of water for those days.