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A simple solar distiller for developing countries, that makes salt water drinkable.

Detailed Description:
Eliodomestico is an open source eco-distiller running on solar power, to provide safe drinking water for people in developing countries. A very simple way to produce freshwater, starting from sea or brackish water. The device produces 5 liters daily (every Sq m of black surface irradiated by the sun), through a direct solar-powered distillation process. Eliodomestico works without filters nor electricity, it requires minimal maintenance, it's made from poor materials and simple technologies.

Known drawbacks of design:
1. The indoor tests that were made with halogen lamps demonstrated a high efficiency in very hot climates. But according to the last outdoor test carried out during August 2012 in the Mediterranean area, the device suffers from efficiency loss when the climate is windy and humid. I already have the solution (which was designed since the beginning), but I still have to build it. So I'm working at the second improved version of the prototype that should solve the problem completely. It will be very similar, just the black boiler will be slightly different. 2. As any other existing water distiller, Eliodomestico delivers distilled water, hence small quantities of salt should be added to the freshwater for enhanced health benefits. It is possible to use the same salt that was in the saltwater before the process.


Designed in:

Status of realization:

Empowerment, Water

Region of use:
Africa, Asia


Eliodomestico is very easy to use: in the morning simply fill the water tank with salty or dirty water from a local source, and in the evening collect clean, evaporated and re-condensed water in a portable recipient placed underneath the tank. The design is inspired from archetypal forms, materials and traditional crafts. So it's highly recognizable and friendly for its users and lets them understand it better: this kind of design and production technique is very familiar to the local people. The choice of materials, shape and colors is also due to many technical reasons, like thermal insulation, ventilation, heat resistance, heat absorption, heat exchange, ... The body is made from two earthenware parts, the main one is painted white, the second one is raw. The evaporator (black boiler) and the condenser are made from tin-welded metal sheet. The freshwater bowl is made from clay and its design facilitates the common habit of transporting things over the head.

Eliodomestico is conceived like an household: it works autonomously during the day, just in front of people's houses; it is durable, easy to use, easy to be fixed by local craftsmen; it is cheap, so that every family could have its own freshwater production. The device works without filters nor electricity, and requires minimal maintenance. Made from readily available materials and poor traditional technologies, the system has no environmental impact. It can deliver very positive outcomes for the local economies, because the project is free and it’s designed to be produced (and eventually repaired) by local craftsmen, thus generating a market. Craftsmen from many different places can produce the distiller, using the materials that they already can manage. The production techniques are very sustainable, well known in the developing countries. The materials needed are very cheap and common.

Many people in the developing countries do not have access to adequate and inexpensive supplies of potable water. This leads to population concentration around existing water supplies, marginal health conditions, and low standard of living. By the year 2025, 2/3 of the world population will lack sufficient fresh water. The areas with the severest water shortages are the warm, arid countries in northern Africa and southern Asia within the latitudes 15-35ºN. Moreover, the regions in most need of additional fresh water are also the regions with the most intense solar radiation. In view of these facts, desalination seems to be the only realistic hope for a new source for fresh water.

Other relevant information
awards: - finalist at Prix Emile Hermès competition 2011 - special mention at Well-Tech Award 2012 - pro winner of the Core77 Design Awards 2012, social impact category


Is the design protected by patent or ip registration?
creative commons

How has the development of the design been financed hereunto?
External investments

Is there a plan for future investments?

Is there in-house competencies to secure market roll out of the design, with regards to investment, distribution, sales, etc.?


Designed by:
Gabriele Diamanti

Industrial Designer


Professional status of designer:
Freelance industrial designer, graduated BA and MA in Industrial Design at Milan Polytechnic, Italy. Studied at Milan Polytechnic and Berlin University of Arts (UdK), Germany


City/Country of residence:
Milan, Italy

Name of company:

Manufactured/Produced/Commisioned by:
Manufactured by local craftsmen, self-commissioned, first prototype financed by Fondation d'entreprise Hermès (, further developments financed by private donations.

Additional credits:
prof. Francesco Trabucco (Politecnico Milano); Re.Te. group (Sermig Torino); Sergio Ricceri (extraordinary potter); Jürgen D.Henning (for some technical advice)