Tickets coming soon
An event powered by
Close this search box.

too many people still don’t have access to safe and clean water

A new project harness the power of the sun to purify water and enable people to a safer and healthier life


Currently, there are 2,1 billions people worldwide who do not have access to drinking water in their home, and 780 million people worldwide who do not have access to drinking water (UNICEF). A major health hazard and main cause of global mortality.

In southern France, an innovative system called Helio is harnessing the power of the sun to purify water. The self-sufficient small sphere can distil dirty water or seawater. It also emits zero CO2, making it completely sustainable.

Helio, the solution

Helio is an inexpensive stand-alone, decarbonated and decentralized system that can easily be installed in areas without drinking water infrastructure and also in disaster areas in the wake of natural disasters.

Helio is made out of transparent glass spheres, naturally heated by the sun at temperatures of over 100° that separate the bacteria from the drinking water. Its only energy source is a solar panel that powers the pump which fills the sphere.

Each sphere can produce up to 10 litres of water per day of sunshine, which is the equivalent of the drinking water needs of a family of five. It also has a minimum life-span of 30 years.

The system adapts to all types of water course comprising of water that is unsafe to drink (seas, lakes, rivers, ponds).

photo: Helio

How it works

The sphere will be heated by the sun’s rays and all the impurities that were in the water will be trapped on this tray within the sphere, while the pure water will trickle down the walls to this lower sphere and the drinking water can be recovered.

Details in the video:


Since 2010, the UN has recognised access to clean water and sanitation as a fundamental human right.

While progress has been made, a lot more still needs to be done. By 2030 it’s forecast: 
  • Only 81 per cent of the world’s population will have access to safe drinking water at home, leaving 1.6 billion without
  • Only 67 per cent will have safe sanitation services, leaving 2.8 billion without
  • And only 78 per cent will have basic handwashing facilities, leaving 1.9 billion without

Clean drinking water

Around 2.6 million people die each year from water-related diseases, with children being the most vulnerable.

In a world where one in three people don’t have access to guaranteed drinking water, Helio’s co-inventor Thierry Carlin says the system offers a solution. “We all need water to live. A human being needs two litres a day to live. This sphere is sized to make water for five people – that’s 10 litres per day,” he said.

photo: Rephile Water via Unsplash
“A super futuristic design”

Many industrial systems already produce drinking water using the sun. What distinguishes this technology, however, is its autonomous nature and the fact it’s made from recycled materials.

It was that sustainability that attracted Enrique Encinas, CEO of Neuva Tierra Consulting. He plans to market and distribute the Helio spheres in Spain and Latin America.

“It’s a super futuristic design, it’s very flexible and can be configured for farms, increasing daily water production to the amount you need. I think it weighs around 80 kilos – between 80 and 100 kilos; but it can be assembled in two hours and taken apart by two people quickly as well,” Encinas said.

A total of 800,000 euros has so far been invested in the Helio project. Half of that came from the European Union Cohesion Policy, the other half from French firm Marine Tech.

Since 2010, the UN has recognised access to clean water and sanitation as a fundamental human right.