Solvatten is a portable 10 litre container that is harnessing sunshine to heat and treat water at household level. Put Solvatten in a sunny place, expose it for 2-6 hours and the water will be drinkable.
The story of Solvatten began more than 10 years ago when Petra Wadström had a unique idea. She thought it must be possible to make better use of the sunshine streaming down onto the Earth. After having tested, constructed and read thousands of pages on the subject,
Petra realised how she could use simple principles of nature to improve people’s daily lives. She imagined a black box that would harness the sun’s UV light and simultaneously heat water in a short space of time. The resulting synergy effect kills microbiological contaminants.
After many years of research and testing, Solvatten is now used in many places around the world with impressive results. The combined water container, treatment unit and heater is designed for the world’s most vulnerable people.The company’s aim is to provide those people who have the greatest needs with the most cost-effective and sustainable solution to change their daily lives. Solvatten improves the conditions for these people, particularly the women, so that they can develop and raise themselves and their families from poverty.
To have clean, safe and warm water at home is a convenience only for a limited number of people in the world. For a family living trapped in poverty, getting help to cover these basic needs can be an effective way to improve life and better the chances to escape poverty. A unique feature about Solvatten is that the purification process also provides warm water (>75°C) that can be utilized for hygienic purposes. This contributes to improved health and living standards for the user, multiplying the social benefits of the product.
Reference projects shows that access to safe, warm water changes behaviours and habits of people, simply because it helps them to save money, save energy and time. With very little effort it becomes a part of a daily routine. Consequence of this is that hygiene practice increase and general health improves. And use of fuelwood drops significantly, which means money saved and less hard work.
If a family uses Solvatten for five years, treating 20 liters of water for 330 days a year, they will produce 33,000 liters of safe and pre-heated water. To boil 33,000 liters of water on a stove would require 14 tons of firewood, and in Kenya the cost of this is about €1,300 at the current market rate. That is the same as for three years of secondary school fees for a child. With Solvatten households can save on fuel and spend instead on food, education, clothes and so on.
Before using Solvatten in Bungoma, Kenya, the average use of firewood per family was 4 tons per year. That is approximately 30 trees. In a few years’ time Solvatten can potentially save a forest.
In 2013 Petra Wadström won the prestigious Polhem Prize for her invention Solvatten.
"Her invention is seemingly simple but ingenious", said the jury. "It helps to solve the growing global - and in many cases acute - problem of the lack of clean water."