Ultra-Low-Cost Reusable Solar Disinfection Sensor

EPA Grant Number: SV839487
Title: Ultra-Low-Cost Reusable Solar Disinfection Sensor
Investigators: Lacks, Daniel J
Current Investigators: Lacks, Daniel J , Mesiano, Sam , Tippareddy, Charit , Maatouk, Chris , Stanley, Sam , Kang, Lei , Lu, Elaine , MacDougall, Gordon , Augustine, Ashley , Ahorukomeye, Peter , Meyers, Abigail , Salomon, Eric , Jella, Tarun , Hanumanthu​​, Anu , Sangani​, Jay , Sinha, ​Annika , Pfau, David , Datta, Sanjit , Al-Serhaid​, Sarah , Carr​, Daniel
Institution: Case Western Reserve University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: II
Project Period: April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2021
Project Amount: $75,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2019) Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , P3 Challenge Area - Safe and Sustainable Water Resources


The research objectives of this project are (1) to develop optimized OSPRI indicator formulations, (2) to develop manufacturing techniques to enable pilot scale production of OSPRI devices, and (3) to create a go-to-market strategy for OSPRI.


To develop optimized OSPRI indicator formulations, we will tune our formulations to the desired degree of bacterial inactivation using our capability to control the UV exposure necessary to generate a color change along with our quantification of bacterial inactivation kinetics. In addition to an "endpoint" formulation, we will develop "progress meter" formulations that change color sequentially throughout the solar disinfection treatment. Finally, we will conduct prolonged reusability testing of the final formulations. To develop manufacturing techniques to enable pilot scale production of OSPRI devices, we will select a method to incorporate the formulation into the device housing, finalize the design components, and perform durability and reusability testing. To create a go-to-market strategy for OSPRI, our approach will prioritize maximizing access to the device. To create an informed strategy, we will continue to develop relationships with experts and partners that can gather end-user feedback from a wide variety of regions. Members of our project team will personally travel abroad to study user needs and assess remaining commercialization obstacles.

Expected Results:

The development and implementation of OSPRI has the potential to dramatically increase the number of people who are able to use solar disinfection to protect their families from waterborne illnesses. The potential end users of this innovation are spread throughout the developing world; already, nearly 5 million people in 55 developing countries use solar disinfection. The potential end users of our device include not only these 5 million, whose use of solar disinfection would be safer with OSPRI, but also those families in the neighboring villages, cities, and provinces who lack access to improved water sources but do not use solar disinfection because the current methodology is too cumbersome and ineffective. We plan to elicit detailed feedback from individuals who could benefit from solar disinfection, through our own international travel as well as through community partners, and thus engage them in the development of our device.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 5 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Ultraviolet dosimeter, WASH, diarrheal disease, sustainable water management, drinking water treatment, water purification, water filtration, solar water treatment, water disinfection, pathogen removal, SODIS

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2019 Progress Report

  • P3 Phase I:

    Ultra-Low-Cost Reusable Solar Disinfection Sensor  | 2018 Progress Report  | Final Report