With worldwide droughts getting worse and billions of humans around the globe living without access to clean water, we are always in need of new solutions to age-old problems. Two industrial designers have come up with their own approach.

The solar bag concept, designed by industrial design students Ryan Lynch and Marcus Triest for use in Sub-Saharan Africa, utilizes the power of the sun’s UV rays to purify drinking water. The outside of the bag, designed as a shoulder/messenger-type bag so users can carry water from distant sources, is made from polyethylene plastic which allows UV rays to penetrate into and kill bacteria within the water. The inside of the bag is lined with a black polyethylene to help heat up the water and reflect UV rays back through it, and the bottom has a spigot for easy access. The team estimates that their design cuts the purification time of 2.5 gallons of water down from a localized standard of two days to just 6 hours.

While a prototype of the bag has been built, the bags are not currently being manufactured and Lynch and Triest are looking for financial backers to make that happen. They say that each bag would cost less $5 to produce, a small price to pay for the human lives it could save by providing clean drinking water to those in need. Kickstarter project, anyone?

[via CNET and Phys.org]

Image Credit: byrye.com