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Solar Bag purifies water while you walk


August 1, 2012

The Solar Bag can be carried like a satchel for easier transport and will begin to purify water as the user walks

The Solar Bag can be carried like a satchel for easier transport and will begin to purify water as the user walks

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Lack of access to clean water causes the deaths of millions of people worldwide and in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, clean water can be several days walk away. Producing a simple and cheap method of purifying water which doesn’t rely on first-world amenities such as a steady electricity supply, or batteries, has proven a significant challenge thus far, but a new prototype device created by Ryan Lynch and Marcus Triest offers hope of doing just this, for an estimated cost of around US$5.

Like the Solaqua we previously reported on, the Solar Bag uses the SODIS (or solar water disinfection) method of water purification, which typically works as follows: PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles commonly used to transport soft-drinks are filled with unclean water and left in the Sun. Following exposure to the Sun’s UV-A radiation, the overwhelming majority of germs contained within the water are eventually eliminated, rendering the water safe to drink.

However, while PET bottles can usually only purify up to three liters per every six hours of sunlight, the Solar Bag's makes claim that its combination of high clarity polyethylene and black polyethylene allows the device to purify 2.5 gallons (9.4 liters) in the same time-span, and that it will start working on the purification process while still being transported. These two differences could potentially save lives, making the Solar Bag project an exciting prospect, even in this early stage of development.

At present, there's no definite information as to when we can expect the Solar Bag to be manufactured.

Sources: Ryan Lynch, Marcus Triest, via TreeHugger

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Wouldn't this device heat up the water (like a solar shower) to the point that the water would become uncomfortable, even painful, to carry?


Free empty pop bottles are everywhere in ever increasing numbers.


Sounds good, but the devil is in the details. A puncture is inevitable, at which point, the bag will have to be thrown out and a replacement purchased. $5 is a lot of money to people who don't even have clean water.


two and a half gallons may not sound like much, but carried on that thin shoulder strap alone, and your shoulder will want to fall off in a short time. how far do they expect this to be carried? Two liter bottles are free, light weight, filling up landfills, can be well sealed, layered in a cart, or tucked into a backpack. Rather than buy one or more solar bags, just pick up more bottles. Instead of one or two, have twenty as a reserve, and tie off half a dozen to a shoulder yoke for transport. You will have far less shoulder pain when you are done. Even an army duffle bag would carry water bottles with less pain than this bag.

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