Pasteurization of naturally contaminated water with solar energy.Appl Environ Microbiol. 1984 Feb; 47(2):223-8.AE
A solar box cooker (SBC) was constructed with a cooking area deep enough to hold several 3.7-liter jugs of water, and this was used to investigate the potential of using solar energy to pasteurize naturally contaminated water. When river water was heated either in the SBC or on a hot plate, coliform bacteria were inactivated at temperatures of 60 degrees C or greater. Heating water in an SBC to at least 65 degrees C ensures that the water will be above the milk pasteurization temperature of 62.8 degrees C for at least an hour, which appears sufficient to pasteurize contaminated water. On clear or partly cloudy days, with the SBC facing magnetic south in Sacramento, bottom water temperatures of at least 65 degrees C could be obtained in 11.1 liters of water during the 6 weeks on either side of the summer solstice, in 7.4 liters of water from mid-March through mid-September, and in 3.7 liters of water an additional 2 to 3 weeks at the beginning and end of the solar season. Periodic repositioning of the SBC towards the sun, adjusting the back reflective lid, and preheating water in a simple reflective device increased final water temperatures. Simultaneous cooking and heating water to pasteurizing temperatures was possible. Additional uses of the SBC to pasteurize soil and to decontaminate hospital materials before disposal in remote areas are suggested.