09 Oct 2015
Milan, Italy
Renewable energy and energy efficiency

Gabriele Diamanti philosophy is the placing of design at the service of people’s needs. This young industrial designer is the inventor of a home distiller which can produce up to 5 litres of drinking water a day, solely using the power of the sun.

In 2013, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly one billion people were without drinking water, yet water covers 72% of the globe, but less than 1 % is fresh water. The process of desalination of the sea seems to be the only solution in countries with water shortages but the technology currently used in the desalination process is extremely energy-intensive, which is why it’s use is restricted to mainly wealthy countries.

Consequently, the industrial designer Gabriele Diamanti imagined the Eliodomestico, a solar still with a low production cost. Water distillers aren’t new and are used to desalinate sea water or purify brackish or contaminated water. However, the techniques used so far require labour, expertise and maintenance. ​​Gabriele Diamanti’s idea is to create a home device that can be handled by one person and built with simple materials.

In 2005, when he graduated from the Polytechnic University of Milan, he began developing the Eliodomestico with the financial support of the Hermès Foundation. He developed a very simple device, made up of a clay structure with two tanks, which can be manufactured easily and cheaply.

The solar oven that turns salt water into drinking water | The Switchers
The solar oven that turns salt water into drinking water | The Switchers
A new product has to be simple to understand. Its shape should follow traditional archetypes, and materials used for its production should be anchored in local traditions. Gabriele Diamanti
The solar oven that turns salt water into drinking water | The Switchers

The Eliodomestico works on the reverse principle of the Italian coffee making machine. The tank is simply filled with saltwater and, thanks to the heat of the sun, the temperature and pressure increase, steam forms and is then redirected through the outflow tube. The steam condenses when it touches the container and falls as water droplets, which can produce up to 5 litres of drinking water per day without using electricity or filters or any other form of maintenance.

The solar oven that turns salt water into drinking water | The Switchers
The solar oven that turns salt water into drinking water | The Switchers

The project was an Emile Hermès prize finalist in 2011 and winner of the Core77 Design Awards in 2012 for the “social impact” category. It is distributed under the open source model to encourage local production. This way, craftsmen can adapt the design to suit local needs and materials. This delivery system not only reduces manufacturing costs and transportation costs, but also encourages development of the local economy.

Eliodomestico Designer
Follow us: