Solar Kettle boils water using the Sun's rays


May 22, 2013

Developed by British engineer James Bentham, the Solar Kettle can boil water simply by using sunlight

Developed by British engineer James Bentham, the Solar Kettle can boil water simply by using sunlight

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Developed by British engineer James Bentham, the Solar Kettle can boil water simply by using sunlight. The portable thermos-like product uses a special thermal technology to boil water without the need for any power input, thus making it ideal for camping, picnics and outdoor activities.

The Solar Kettle features a thermal vacuum tube which absorbs and converts the sun’s rays into heat. Two exterior reflectors open out to maximize the amount of solar energy obtained, enabling the water inside to boil without the need for any further energy supply. The kettle also comes with an built-in stand so that it can be positioned to face the sun, along with a thermometer located on the lid, which allows the user to monitor the temperature of the contents.

Similar to other insulated products, the Solar Kettle’s exterior remains cool to touch, even when the contents are at the boiling point, reducing the risk of burns to the user. It can also be used to store hot water for long periods of time.

Weighing 1.2 kilograms (2.6 lb) when empty, the Solar Kettle is light enough to carry in a backpack but is considerably heavier than your average thermos (mine weighs 300 grams/0.65 lb). The kettle can hold 500 ml (17 oz) of water, which will take approximately two hours to boil from cold. This timing can vary depending on the amount of sun available, and further reduced if the water has been previously heated.

In survival situations, the kettle can be used to sterilize river water or snow and purify it for drinking. It can also desalinate sea water to produced clean water that is safe to drink.

In everyday situations, the Solar Kettle can be used to boil enough water to make three cups of tea, coffee, hot chocolate or soup and even a boiled egg or two. The video below demonstrates a couple of campers boiling two cups of tea and an egg with the Solar Kettle.

UK company Contemporary Energy is currently taking online orders for the Solar Kettle, which is priced at approximately US$53.

Source: Contemporary Energy Ltd

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

And on a cloudy day, it won't boil at all. Rubbish!

Jon A.

@Jon A.

And on a rainy day my socks will get wet!

Bryant Drake

I think that is really cool and green. I think it would be very useful for times when the power is out. I think it would be also very good for camping or trips.


Given the high weight, tiny capacity, and long heating time it is not even remotely practical.


it takes an electric kettle 2 minutes to boil that much water with 2000 watts, so if you had a bike powered electric generator it would take 20 minutes on slow pedal speed, or 10 going like a crazy guy. so in 2 hours 120 minutes, it's about... 30 watts...

a 30 watts thin film solar panel is about 30 pounds, and it's alot more versatile, and same as a couple of a2 sheets of paper. and it's also lighter.


Ooh Bertie

Designed by a British engineer, it should generally have a good chance of working in sunnier climes! I wonder though, if filled right up for use on a very sunny day, is there any risk of steam pressure expelling contents when opened? Or is there an 'over-pressure' valve incorporated? I agree it seems a bit heavy for hikers though, they are usually worrying about every little gram.

The Skud

Great design concept. But, 500 ml in 2 hours is too little and too long. And this is solar powered so you will have to be stationary for 2 hours. Self defeating.


I am planning a climb up an 8000 meter mountain this summer. I was thinking that this might be a good solution to the drudgery of having to spend half the day melting ice for drinking.


Obviously, this guy got an engineering degree without having learned anything about engineering. If this device covered a MUCH larger area with something light like mylar, it might actually have some potential. As it is, it is an embarrassing failure.


I think it's a great idea. I'd love to see how efficient it is and if it could be integrated into solar hot water for the home. Humans are very wasteful with energy, I'd love to see more environmentally friendly solutions like this. Obviously this wouldn't suit all climates, and latitudes but there are many in which this would work extremely well.


Interesting title but dissapointing product. I mean, my respect for the designer but two hours for boiling point it is too much time for an emergency. Well, probably in my my country with a 34 celsius average temperature work faster, or in africa.


I have to agree with the other comments, to little volume and to slow to heat it up, its just not practical. I think the design is very simple, 2 reflectors and a vacuum tube to contain the heat?

I think the idea of a solar kettle is good but it needs to be made out of more technologically advanced materials that are light weight that reflect more(or the same) amount of light.

Need more light reflecting areas that could expand, like a lightweight reflective material that could roll up.

Nathaneal Blemings

Another great British invention that needs the Japanese to perfect it & the Chinese to copy it for half the price.

Glen Aldridge

This is a brilliant fundamental idea badly in need of a redesign! It needs more mirror surface and that surface needs to be shaped in an ellipse.

Timothy Rohde

This is not an especially new idea, just a limited implementation of someone else's great idea. Some years ago I saw several variations of this where the solar concentrator was rather like an umbrella and since it had a much larger reflector the cooking time measured in minutes not hours. This would be greatly improved with a collapsible mylar reflector modelled either like an umbrella, or a trough mirror, etc. There are many ways to do this none of which are particularly novel but are still great solutions. And, yup, the Chinese will steal & reverse engineer this and find some place to make it at slave labour rates & conditions whereupon it will be shipped to stores where local retail serfs will be paid squat to put stuff on shelves.


I saw the product at a show at a world festival here LA and was impressed. For us, it makes perfect sense with the weather we have. They did tell us that is works with clouds in sky, although I'd like to verify that. All in all, it's a great entrepreneur's product and I wish them well.


I think it is a great idea, just ordered one, and I'm thinking of hanging it in my office window that faces the morning sun.. get to office and hot water is ready to make tea or coffee.

Rodger Evans

Two hours til coffee when camping? No thanks, I'll build a fire.

Suspicious Chihuahua

As others said - too little water and too much time to be practical yet.

If they hooked that thing up to batteries to keep batteries charged (and maybe added a wind up battery charger as well) and then used a battery assist to speed it up that might make it more practical.


man.. bunch of people in a real hurry when they go out hiking. Yes perhaps you should have your own jetpot if you need water that fast. 2 hours for 1/2 a liter is fine, and pretty fantastic for a solar device of that size.

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