This Solar Innovation by a Swedish Artist Uses Surprisingly Simple Technology to Save Lives
Petra Wadström, a Swedish designer and artist now in her 60s, doesn’t have an engineering background. Back in 2005, when she came up with the idea for Solvatten—a piece of equipment that makes contaminated water safe to drink—she also didn’t know much about solar power.
What Wadsrom did know was this: she gazed up at the sun, beating somewhat uselessly down on Australia, where she lived at the time; she looked at a jerry-can, which someone might use to carry water from source to home; and she realized the world was missing a trick.
Solvatten now provides solar-powered water purifiers to people without access to safe, clean water in 45 countries, the majority in Africa. The technology itself uses no chemicals or moving parts, and lasts for between seven and 10 years—long enough for it to benefit a family for an entire childhood, the company says.