Published on March 13th, 2009 | by Derek Markham28
The Watercone: A Simple, Effective Solar Still
In many parts of the world, lack of access to clean, potable water is a major issue. Water may be found nearby, but only in a brackish or polluted state. Areas close to the ocean may see miles of water, but not a drop to drink. UNICEF estimates that every day 5000 children die as a result of diarrhea caused by drinking unsafe water. The Watercone could change all of that.
The Watercone, invented by Stephan Augustin, is a conical solar still made from recyclable polycarbonate, with a screw cap spout on the top and a collecting trough in the base which catches the condensation for use as drinking water. The design is ingenious. It’s simple, cheap, and effective. The units even nest together to reduce the transportation costs.
The Watercone concept is easily understood by almost anybody within seconds, and there’s no need for technical jargon or complex directions. There are no parts to replace or maintain, and the cone and base are made from Bayer Makrolon, an ultra-tough and recyclable UV resistant polycarbonate. The base is made from recycled polycarbonate.
Simply place the cone over a pan of salty water (or any damp ground, even floating on a pool of water), leave it in the sun to evaporate, you flip it over at the end of the day, take off the cap and drink or store the water.
The Watercone site claims that one cone can produce one liter of water per-day (on average). The life expectancy is 3 to 5 years, and even when the polycarbonate gets cloudy and reduces the effectiveness of the distiller, the cone can still be used to collect rainwater.