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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Breakthrough Material Enables No Electricity Sterilization Will Save Thousands of Lives

• by Brian Wang

This transparent insulating material is bonded onto the top of off-the-shelf equipment for producing solar hot water. A copper plate with a heat-absorbing black coating is bonded to a set of pipes on the underside. As the sun heats the plate, water flowing through the pipes underneath picks up that heat. But with the addition of the transparent insulating layer on top, plus polished aluminum mirrors on each side of the plate to direct extra sunlight at the plate, the system can generate high-temperature steam instead of just hot water. The system uses gravity to feed water from a tank into the plate; the steam then rises to the top of the enclosure and is fed out through another pipe, which carries the pressurized steam to the autoclave. A steady supply of steam must be maintained for 30 minutes to achieve proper sterilization.

A steady supply of pressurized steam at a temperature of about 125 degrees Celsius will sterilize medical equipment in the developing world and in any off-grid situation. There are still about 700 million people in the world without electricity.