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Solar Autoclaves Harness the Power of the Sun

The locations may be remote, with challenging terrain and weather and no electricity, but the available tech is anything other than backwards.

Researchers, students, and instructors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s D-Lab have developed an autoclave powered by the sun. Using over 140 small mirrors, the “Solarclave” can reach temps over 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This gives rural clinics the ability to properly sterilize medical equipment and pathogenic waste.

Pioneering this tech in rural clinics in Nicaragua, the Solarclave is affordable, easy to use, easy to maintain, and can be made with local materials. Endorsed by the World Health Organization, the Solarclave is already beginning to revolutionize the quality of health care in the developing world, with units deployed in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Niger and Ethiopia.

In the following 2010 video, MIT’s Ted Liao and Anna Young describe the prototype Solarclave:

And here is a video from 2012, showing the current generation of the Solarclave in the field in Nicaragua:

While Priorclave North America doesn’t work in the medical sector, we are always enthusiastic when we see innovative and efficient technologies–and even more so when that technology is so perfectly tailored to its users and their environment.

[Photo credit: Anna Young and José Gómez-Márquez]