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Solar water disinfection
A two liter plastic bottle can be made into a water treatment system simply by filling it with contaminated water and exposing it to the sun.  Sodis is an organization that promotes this technology around the world.  

The disinfection process can be speeded by turning aluminized mylar snack food bags inside out and making them into reflectors as two young students in Belo Horizonte, Brazil discovered:

Solar bottle bulbs for daylighting

In 2002, during a long electrical shortage, at Uberaba, São Paulo, Brasil, Mr Alfredo Moser discovered a way to gather sun light in the house through plastic bottles hanging from the roof. First shown at the Globo Reporter in the 25th May 2007.
Alfredo Moser was pressed by a scarce electricity substitution and found out that he could light his house with a bottle of water filled with water and a protection cap made of camera film.

The bottle is just refracting sunlight very effectively and produces an equivalent light power compared to a 50/60W lamp. In a rainy day, even without much light and direct sun, one still have some light. Scientist have now visited Moser and are looking into ways to take this concept to maximize its potential.

That was 2002. Now over 10,000 households, small businesses, and schools in the Philippines have installed solar bottle bulbs. Iliac Diaz of Liter of Light is attempting to spread it worldwide.

The invention is something that is so simple, cheap, and sustainable that anyone can create and maintain it themselves.

As Diaz says, the three rules of appropriate technology are that people can find it, they can replicate it, and most importantly, they can make a business of it.

Here's another Brazilian design, for a PET bottle hot water heater

There are also plastic bottle houses
from Argentina

and Nigeria

In Nigeria, they fill the bottles with sand or dirt to make bottle bricks.

Here's a backpacker solar water heater

A recycled solar cloche or cold frame for the garden

All these devices make use of the Simple Solar Principles
Dark gets hot
Light reflects
Clear keeps the wind out

Most any and everybody can understand how to build and use them.

Even when a plastic bottle is chopped up, it may still help in purifying water

“Plastic bottle” solution for arsenic-contaminated water threatening 100 million people
Note to journalists: Please report that this research was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

DENVER, Aug. 31, 2011
“Dealing with arsenic contamination of drinking water in the developing world requires simple technology based on locally available materials,” said study leader Tsanangurayi Tongesayi, Ph.D., professor of analytical and environmental chemistry at Monmouth University, West Long Branch, N.J. “Our process uses pieces of plastic water, soda pop and other beverage bottles. Coat the pieces with cysteine — that’s an amino acid found in dietary supplements and foods — and stir the plastic in arsenic-contaminated water. This works like a magnet. The cysteine binds up the arsenic. Remove the plastic and you have drinkable water.”

Water bottles walls, hanging bottles in south-facing windows in south-facing windows, is folk technology that goes back at least to the 19th century. Always wanted to set up a stacked thermosyphon from one gallon to five gallon container to another to see how that would affect the system. Has anyone combined solar water disinfection with solar daylighting? How about water collection and treatment with solar daylighting, water and space heating, plus PV power as one integrated system.

Trash Technology for Education and Survival
Fastfood Containers as Solar Devices
Recycled solar
Solar Is Civil Defense
Small-scale LED Lighting, Off-Grid Cell Phones
Solar Insurgency
Solar Swadeshi
Gandhian Economics

All I know about simple solar is at

crossposted to


More trash technology and recycled solar?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks gmoke (8+ / 0-)

    Your diaries are always so information and useful.

    Bridge Closed: Republican Tax CUTS At Work

    You just gonna stand there and bleed tax cuts
    Or you gonna do something about it?

    by bronte17 on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 08:35:50 PM PDT

  •  I've been rolling some stuff around (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, srkp23, gmoke, DawnN, KenBee, Ahianne, DaleA

    in my head for several weeks using water bottles for home construction. It's a work in progress.

    This is good stuff, gmoke!

    Thanks. (Bookmarked, btw...)

    "In other words, if we bust our butts, there's an even chance things will get better; and if we sit on our butts, there's a major chance things will go completely to hell". --- G2geek

    by Lorinda Pike on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 08:48:45 PM PDT

  •  I love all this. Thank you. Still looking at links (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, gmoke, Lorinda Pike, mikolo

    Maybe I'm in a particularly sentimental mood, but something about this brought tears to my eyes! Moved by the twinned simplicity and impact.

    There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

    by srkp23 on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 08:49:14 PM PDT

    •  Clearer Picture (7+ / 0-)

      Thanks so much for reading so closely that the tears came.  

      There is something very profound in this simplicity.  I've been thinking about this post for awhile now and, having finished it, see that the picture I've been trying to bring into focus is becoming clearer.  100% success for all humanity starting with the poorest first.

      If you can provide emergency of disaster energy with only available solar income (and you can) then it can become one step toward powering all of society on only available solar income, within ecological design principles.

      the war that matters is the war against the imagination
      all other wars are subsumed in it.
      Diane Di Prima

      Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction.  
      R. Buckminster Fuller

      We remain alert so as not to get run down, but it turns out you only have to hop a few feet to one side and the whole huge machinery rolls by, not seeing you at all.
      Lew Welch

      The way to subvert the dominant paradigm is to have more fun than they do and make sure they know it.
      David Elfstrom

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

      by gmoke on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 09:03:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are wonderful and your vision beautiful (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmoke, Lorinda Pike, bronte17

        and those quotations are all a gift too! Thank you!

        There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

        by srkp23 on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 09:08:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you so much for this! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I was amazed by the Brazilian idea of solar water bottles before - after reading your diary I want to go out and try some of this for myself!

        It does not matter where we live - we must all be prepared to be WITHOUT electricity as things occur beyond our control.

        Being able to take care of ourselves -
        - as our governments majority role appears to be taking care of corporations = RELIEF that I and others CAN do something to get off the grid!

        Keep it coming!  My brain cells are happy today! ;)

        The Great Work now… is to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period where humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.  
                        --Thomas Berry
  •  Great stuff, Gmoke! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmoke, bronte17, Ahianne, Russgirl

    I love these diaries. I'm going to try the cold frame idea next spring.

    Thanks for posting, T+R.

    "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of fraud"--The Cure, "Club America"

    by Wheever on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 09:39:55 PM PDT

  •  Tipped, rec'd, hotlisted. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmoke, RunawayRose

    We are not given mercy because we deserve it, but because we need it.

    by Ahianne on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 05:24:03 AM PDT

  •  Buy Pilot "B2P" (bottle to pen) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's a great, high quality product made from recycled materials.


    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 06:36:54 AM PDT

  •  I'm studying SODIS at school ... (0+ / 0-)

    We found a way to make cheap temperature indicators with locally available materials, so that you can tell when the most dangerous microbes have been killed. You don't actually have to get to boiling ....

    It was an EPA P3 project. I'm thinking about making a diary about it.

    Now I'm studying the effects that different bottle sizes and surfaces would have on the temperature in water bottles left in the sun.

    Once again, a great diary. Keep it up, diaries like these are what bring me back to dailykos again and again.

    ‎"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

    by jobobo on Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 04:32:50 PM PDT

    •  Great Work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Let us know how your research goes.  Some friends did some tests with Sodis and found that, if you don't do it right, you can actually increase pathogens.

      Hope you try the potato chip bag reflectors too.

      Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

      by gmoke on Fri Sep 16, 2011 at 09:35:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  potato chip bag reflectors?! (0+ / 0-)

        That's brilliant! I'll definitely look into that. And I'd like to know more about the increase of pathogens, if you have a link or a paper that you could point me to.

        ‎"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

        by jobobo on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 10:28:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No Link (0+ / 0-)

          Some colleagues did their own testing of Sodis through an independent lab.  They are adamantly not online but, if you are really interested, I can ask.

          Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

          by gmoke on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:49:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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