Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Pasteurization Using a Lens and Solar Energy (PULSE) Method

EPA Grant Number: SU835346
Title: Pasteurization Using a Lens and Solar Energy (PULSE) Method
Investigators: Tam, Kawai , Farag, Jason , He, Ye , Matsumoto, Mark , Ochoa, Estevan , Park, Jung , Quach, Christopher
Institution: University of California - Riverside
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2013
Project Amount: $14,999
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Water pasteurization using Fresnel lenses and preexisting solar disinfection methods will be evaluated. Preliminary tests were conducted using two types of Fresnel lenses: spot and linear, which concentrate solar energy onto a point and a line respectively on a water container. Results show that a 3’x2’ spot-focused Fresnel lens can achieve pasteurization temperatures within 15 minutes. Additional tests using different lens sizes and water container materials will be evaluated to maximize the effectiveness of the device, while minimizing the cost of the design so that developing communities and nations can potentially use this technology to provide safe water to individuals.


Much has been done to improve access to safe drinking water in third world nations; over seven hundred and eighty million people still lack access to safe drinking water sources. The solar disinfection (SODIS) method which uses sunlight to destroy water pathogens is already in use through much of the world, however it is very time consuming. Therefore an improvement upon the SODIS method will be investigated to increase the rate of treated water.


A device incorporating a Fresnel lens will be used in accordance with the SODIS method to speed up the rate of water pasteurization for utilization in third world nations. The Fresnel lens will focus a beam of sunlight onto a common plastic bottle that has been inoculated with E. coli. Temperature readings and water samples will be collected from the bottle every five minutes to develop a relationship between the temperature and the rate of bacterial inactivation.

Expected Results:

It is expected that the device designed will be able to produce 2 liters or more of pasteurized water within one hour.

Supplemental Keywords:

UCR, sustainable energy, renewable energy, emergency preparedness, boiling water, pathogen elimination, waterborne diseases, protozoa, virus.