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Desolenator: transforming sunshine into water

London, United KingdomLondon, United Kingdom
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Desolenator is a patented method of water purification that is on track to become the most affordable and environmentally friendly method of purifying water from any source: no chemicals, no filters. Using the power of the sun alone!

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the whole world's water needs were provided by the sun and the sea?!
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The UN, 2015 estimates that over a billion people do not have access to clean water. WEF, 2015 sees the water crisis as humanities biggest challenge. Climate change and a growing population puts stress on the global water supply, leaving millions of people globally exposed to sporadic supply of services, and exploitative prices. This phenomena is felt today globally from Australia and India throughout the Middle East and California.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Desolenator offers a simple, affordable and scalable solution to the global water crisis. A method of water purification that is entirely solar powered and extremely easy to operate and maintain. This unique and patented technology can be applied on a small scale and on a large scale; providing water independence for a house, a community or a whole village. It can be installed in any location that has sun and a dirty water source. Desolenator works closely with Liverpool University (UK) and College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram (India) and is incubated in Imperial College as part of the Climate Kic accelerator program. We see collaboration and future partnerships as a key to fulfilling the global potential of Desolenator.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

As part of our ongoing research, the team interviewed a fishing community in Kerala, South India to learn about the issues of life in water stress and how the Desolenator could change lives for the better. (Password: Desolenator). Women and children in this village walk long distances to source water from a well or water truck leading to physical exhaustion and potential sexual harassment. The poor quality of untreated water in such cases leads to ongoing and often fatal diseases. One Desolenator unit per household will directly generate increased levels of productivity, monetary savings and income generating opportunities as well as a clear reduction in cases of diseases (diarrhea, typhoid etc..) and abuse.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

By introducing a clean off-grid water solution that is entirely renewable and has zero energy costs, the project will disrupt the existing water market and make a significant contribution to halting the crisis climate change represents to humanity. Currently, 1% of global energy production is utilised in desalination. With a conservative reduction in CO2 emissions of 144 million tonnes per annum, this represents a significant component of the footprint of the existing desalination market. We work closely with an NGO called SISP in 5 communities (50,000 people) where most people have to travel miles every day to collect water. By freeing up their time the Desolenator will improve quality of life and productivity, with broader implications for society as a whole. According to the UN, around one billion people do not have access to clean water- we believe we can change this.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We aim to have Desolenator units in six pilot locations in June of this year, with an additional 130 units committed to ship by October 2015. We are in talks with MFIs, NGOs and distributors to discuss the optimal roll out strategy based on rigorous testing and validation of a 'pay per use' / micropayment model enabled through GSM technology. By 2030 over 3 billion will live in water stressed countries. We believe that by working with governments, NGOs and MNCs we could provide water independence to a billion people through unit sales, bulk sales and technology licensing globally.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Desolenator has recently crowdfunded $160k from direct sales and philanthropic donations. ( These funds are allocated for product development: which will see Desolenator complete all manufacture related activity by October 2015 (component sourcing, OEM and tooling). We aim to raise a round A from ethically aligned investors to fund the first production run of units.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Existing alternatives and substitutes include broadly: GADGETS (Water straw, filters) which have a short lifespan and purify only a small variety of water sources, KITCHEN PURIFIERS (Pureit, AquaPure) which are grid dependent and can not handle seawater or water with high TDS), SOLAR DESAL (PV-RO and Solar Stills) who are either too costly- at £30k+ or have a very small yield, FOSSIL FUELLED DESALINATION PLANTS (See Saudi Arabia where 70% of domestic water is produced in this way!) that suck up 1% of global energy supply and are not affordable to countries that do not have reserves of oil, .

Founding Story

In 2012, William Janssen (the inventor of the Desolenator technology) was living in Abu Dhabi for his 5th year. In UAE almost all domestic water comes from seawater desalination plants, humongous fuel guzzling machines that burn large volumes of oil per day to boil and distil seawater. He thought about using both the heat and electric energy of a PV panel and using a heat exchanger to leverage the temperature differences throughout the process, leading to an entirely new way of solar powered desalination on both a small and larger scale and in a way that can be off grid and decentralized. William Joined forces with India & UK based IX to leverage their expertise in clean tech development, and business model innovation.


Alexei Levene is a serial social entrepreneur and innovation guru. William Janssen, the inventor of the technology and former MD of a construction company. Ian Smith, 14 years in operations with blue chip companies. Gal Moore, a serial entrepreneur and impact technology specialist. Poornima, is our project manager with a decade of experience with some of UK and India's largest technology companies.
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Organization Country

, London

Country where this project is creating social impact

, London

Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Individuals, Foundations, Businesses, Customers.

Awards: What awards or honors has the project received?

Clean Launchpad: EU final 2nd place
Climate KIC Accelerator UK: Accepted
London+ Acumen: UK Shortlisted Top 5
Birghton Grand Challenge: Shortlisted for final

Where have you learnt about the competition?

I was approached by Candice Mazzoleni of Ashoka Changemakers

Tell us about your partnerships:

Desolenator works closely with Liverpool University (UK) and College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram (India) and is incubated in Imperial College (Climate Kic accelerator). We are also supported by the Royal Society of the Arts, Commerce & Manufacture (RSA) and Hub Westminster in London. We are in continuous discussions with NGOs, MFIs, MNCs and rural distributors to join forces on business model validation and roll out strategy.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

1. We know that the concept will work. However, we have yet to achieve a yield that is theoretically possible. This risk is addressed directly by the proof of concept and which includes rapid prototyping and input from numerous experts in the field.
2. Market disruption will create a risk. Currently disenfranchised people in arid regions are the victim of rogue water traders who will not benefit from Desolenator. Our current unit is designed for household use. This is an important aspect of Desolenator, as it transfers responsibility and ownership to each member of the community.


Emily Kasriel's picture

A very exciting idea with high potential impact, which has achieved impressive crowd funding and a lot of media buzz. More information needed on financial sustainability, a big challenge given the current high cost of production per unit.

William Janssen's picture

Hi Gal!

Looking great there, like a winner!


Gal Moore's picture

Dear Emily,

Many thanks for your feedback!
- Indeed the last couple of months have been a real rollercoaster :)

Having completed our crowdfunding campaign we are now fully immersed in product development, field trials and customer / business model validation.

We have established a couple of markets for which the Desolenator (at $450) is very affordable, given that the lifespan of each unit is 20 years- micropayments and financing become a reasonable way to provide for markets that would struggle otherwise. We are also developing GSM capabilities that will enable a 'Pay-Per-Use' solution where suitable.

We are confident that Desolenator is by far the most affordable way to tackle water with high levels of Arsenic, TDS and Salinity; which also happens to be the biggest challenge in India today. Many comparable products on the market are much more expensive even though they depend fully on the grid and do not solve the issues that we solve neatly off grid with zero environmental impact.

We also believe that our recent crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo shows some promise for potential disruptive and innovative business models that include direct units sales, grant funding, 'Pay-Per-Use' and philanthropy. In the past 3 months we philanthropically crowdsourced over $50k for distribution of units to customers who otherwise wouldn't afford them as well as selling over 80 units directly to customers in 24 different countries.

I'd be happy to chat further and hear your thoughts and suggestions!
Many thanks,


fantastic idea - true social impact business

Good going guys. Best of luck tomorrow!

An outstanding proof of concept for an idea which can only get stronger and stronger.

Useful to humankind until we no longer require water!


Jack Smith's picture

Hai Gal, its awesome project. I just love it. good luck team.

Million worth project. Great efforts gal, it is amazing project. Is this gonna be a high budget project..? Or it can be implemented easily.?

J Thomson's picture

Watched video, its awesome. Great transformation from sunshine to water, It really work. Thanks for the share.

Anuradha kumari's picture

Lots of project i have seen so far, but i found this is one of the best project. I have bookmarked this page. Happy reading.

Alexter Cook's picture

Yeah we are wasting lot of rain water and useability of these water could be better useable for our day to day life. This project is very near to this and make sense. Nice efforts.

Rajeev Kumar's picture

Hey Mr.Moore i like the way you used the natural resource to do this total process. Nice idea. Thanks for the great share.

Shankari Kumari's picture

Desolenator sounds good and looks simple. Great team work.

Kareena D's picture

Awesome demonstration.. Thanks for sharing and following us.

Flosy D's picture
Flosy D /

Thanks for sharing following me.