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    A Solar Water Heater Made of PET Bottles

    By Keith R | July 2, 2007

    Topics: Renewable Sources, Waste & Recycling | 48 Comments »

    1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.75 out of 5)

    the PET bottle solar heater array mounted (click to enlarge) (photo: AEN)Synopsis in English: The government of the southern Brazilian state of Paraná has been conducting an interesting experiment in environmental design utilizing waste materials.

    Since August 2006 state agencies have sponsored projects to construct solar water heaters constructed from used PET bottles and “long life” (aseptic) milk packaging. So far some 3,000 such heaters have been constructed and put into operation in 254 Paraná municipalities, in the process diverting about 1.2 million PET bottles and aseptic milk cartons that otherwise might have gone into landfills. It takes 200 PET bottles and 200 aseptic milk cartons to construct the solar water heater array.

    putting the PET bottles together (click to enlarge) (photo: AEN)It’s estimated that if the heater is used to heat the water for two bathrooms, it can save as much as 120 kilowatts per month.

    The concept was first proposed by José Alano, who in 2004 had received the Ecology award from the Brazilian magazine Superinteressante (“Super interesting”). Alano received the support of the Paraná state government, and the “Hot Water for All” (Água quente para todos) project of the state’s Zero Waste Program (Programa Desperdício Zero) was born.

    To start with, the water heaters were installed in the regional offices of the various organs of the State Environment System — the Environment Secretariat (SEMA), the Environment Institute (IAP), the Superintendency of Water Resource Development and Environmental Sanitation (Suderhsa), and the Institute of Lands, Cartography and Geosciences (ITCG). They have also been installed in several university campuses around the state. Some of the waste collectors (catadores) enlisted in gathering the materials were so impressed with the solar heaters that they built their own for their association’s headquarters.

    the framed array (click to enlarge) (photo: AEN)Desde a Agência Estadual de Noticias de Paraná (AEN):

    Aquecedor solar ecológico retirou mais de 1 milhão de embalagens do meio ambiente

    Cerca de 1,2 milhão de garrafas PET e de embalagens de leite longa-vida foram retiradas do meio ambiente e destinadas a montagem de aquecedores solares. Desde o início do ano passado, quando a Secretaria do Meio Ambiente e Recursos Hídricos começou a promover oficinas que ensinam a montagem do aparelho, montado com materiais recicláveis, já foram confeccionados 3 mil aquecedores em 254 municípios paranaenses. Para a montagem de cada sistema são reaproveitadas 200 garrafas PET e 200 embalagens de leite longa-vida.

    A idéia de utilizar o material que geralmente é encaminhado aos aterros sanitários começou com o aposentado catarinense José Alano, que, em 2004, ganhou o prêmio Ecologia, da revista Superinteressante. No Paraná, a iniciativa de Alano conta com o apoio do Governo de Estado, que, através da Secretaria de Meio Ambiente, divulga o aquecedor no projeto “Água quente para todos”, do Programa Desperdício Zero.

    a finished array (click to enlarge) (Photo: AEN)O secretário do Meio Ambiente e Recursos Hídricos, Rasca Rodrigues, contou que a primeira oficina foi realizada em agosto de 2006 e foi direcionada a técnicos que atuam nos escritórios regionais do Sistema Sema – composto pela Secretaria do Meio Ambiente e Instituto Ambiental do Paraná (IAP), Superintendência de Desenvolvimento de Recursos Hídricos e Saneamento Ambiental (Suderhsa) e Instituto de Terras, Cartografia e Geociências (ITCG).

    “O objetivo foi capacitá-los para que pudessem divulgar a alternativa sustentável em suas regiões, aumentando o alcance da idéia e retirando do meio ambiente resíduos que podem e devem ser reaproveitados”, comentou Rasca. Além dos escritórios regionais do Sistema Sema, faculdades como o Centro de Estudos Universitários de Maringá (Cesumar), Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná (Unioeste) e União Dinâmica de Faculdades Cataratas (UDC) aderiram à iniciativa, que conta ainda com a participação da União dos Escoteiros do Brasil – Região Paraná.

    (click to enlarge) (Photo: AEN)Economia – O aquecedor solar também poupa energia elétrica. Por mês, até 120 quilowatts podem ser economizados para aquecer a água de dois banheiros. A economia chamou a atenção da Associação Umuaranense de Catadores de Matérias Recicláveis (Asucmar). Depois de participar da oficina dos técnicos do IAP, os associados viram a possibilidade de montar um aquecedor na própria associação utilizando as garrafas pet e as embalagens longa-vida, que eles mesmos recolhiam.

    Ângela Morae, uma das associadas, já comemora a economia. “Depois que instalamos o aquecedor, a conta caiu pela metade. Isso é bom, porque sobra um dinheirinho a mais pra outras coisas. E o melhor disso tudo é que ainda ajudamos o meio ambiente”, ressaltou Ângela.

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    48 Responses to “A Solar Water Heater Made of PET Bottles”

    1. solar water heater Says:

      Great contents, I think there will be much more chance to consider

    2. wands82sg Says:

      Very smart way to recycle the pet bottles! I would like to try it too!

    3. Tankless Water Heaters Says:

      Impressive way to use old items and get the most for your money. Nice to see ingenuity put to work as most people are happy to just throw their old items away.

    4. Ravikumar Says:

      Its a great idea. Pl. share the construction details so that the same can be tried in other parts of the world to bring environmental awareness.

    5. Sangita Says:

      Yes! Keeping in mind the drastic environmental changes and rising fuel prices going Solar is one option open to all at minimal investments. The Solar Water heating systems are so easy to install and most of them come in a Do-it Yourself kit, With the technological advancement the once heavy, bulky hard to move panels are now available widely in light weight easy to carry by one personal only packages. The advancement in technology is not only limited to light weight, but for those concern about the asthetics of the panels, the good news is that the panels are now available with a variety of trim colors to choose from and can be easily matched to your roof. Saving about $25.oo on ones electricity bill on a residence of 4. We all use hot water, as one of our basic needs and what can be a better way, than helping our environment, saving our resources and ourself’s some money other than by investing in a Solar Water Heating System.

      Lastly, the local utilites in some areas also provide additional rebates and incentives for adding a Solar Water Heating Sytem to your exisitng water tank.
      Keep the look out on. Feel Good and save- money for you, environment for us.

    6. Hollito Says:

      A few more details about the construction would be great. As far as I can see on the photos, the PET bottles are put together to create something like a “heat chamber” around the tubes with the water, and the milk packages (seems to be something like the “Tetra Pak”) are used as reflectors? Can you provide us with more information?


    7. gooroogirl Says:

      Brilliant! Where do I find the design sheets on this? How do you put the bottles into each other?
      Oooooooooooooh………..I WANNA KNOW!!!

    8. T VENKAT REDDY Says:

      Incredible idea and achievement by Jose Alano. In India many people reside in the remote places, where the electricity is seldom available. If the information in the instructional manual is made available in English,then it will be useful to the most of the people of the world including Indians.
      Thank you,
      T Venkat Reddy

    9. Nick Xin Says:

      How can it work? can you give detail photo?

    10. Martin Says:

      PET water bottles are safe to use for their original purpose, but they leach a toxic chemical when the liquid they contain is heated. The chemical is antimony and its effects have not been studied enough yet.

      That being said, the benefits of hot running water in isolated communities could outweigh the adverse effects of antimony.

      People are being taught how to use the sun and plastic water bottles to sterilize drinking water in Africa. It’s pretty low tech.

    11. steve Says:

      Love this system… I need some advice? I want to place a small version of this on my greenhouse, close the system and route water down to heat rocks under greenhouse, then push water back up to heat it again. This way I can keep the cut flowers & other plants warm in winter. How would I get the warm water down and move cold water back up this completely enclosed system. I don’t need the water for the plants just for warming the rocks. Ideas???

    12. Rigioni Says:

      Following comment on July 21st 2009… heated water never touch the PET bottles, these with the black tetra pack cartons perform a “green house” effect around the pipes where the water flows to increase the heating effect, so there should be no concern about chemicals being transferred to the water… cheers

    13. Evergreenheater Says:

      Very smart way to recycle the pet bottles! I would like to try it too!

    14. Seb Says:

      Here is a link to a PDF giving more details about the process of making it. It’s not the best translation but may be enough to understand the concept.

    15. Solar Water Preheater Says:

      That’s brilliant! I’ve seen solar air preheaters made from aluminum cans that worked well, but because of the temperatures, i would never have even thought about using old pet bottles. That’s definitely something worth looking into. Good Job!

    16. Balakrishnan Says:

      Dear sir,

      It is really great job.

    17. Ruzevaldo Lima Says:

      Ola, Sir.

      Congratulations for this wonderful creativily!
      Text and image are very easy to understand.
      I have a question for you. I intend to build one like that, but I don’t know what thick of pipe I must use; 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch?



    18. Bia Says:

      It’s a good system, making use of old materials. A few more details about the construction would be great. It will be better to share it to many people to bring environmental awareness.

    19. Peira Ecosophia Says:

      […] chauffe eau solaire à base de récupération de bouteilles d’eau minérales montées en […]

    20. Erika Andrade Says:

      It was a good idea by José Alano to create a solar water heater made of pet bottles. The text was interesting and well written, but lacked put more photos and what the people in general benefited from the project think about this initiative.

    21. Pedro Batista Says:

      This idea can change the ways in the economy of energy and recycling. I belive that by showing up this idea, we can improve our quality of life. Good idea, congratulation!

    22. Guilherme Rocha Says:

      Wow that´s such a nice idea! It´s very good to see things like this. And it´s better to see that state agencies are sponsoring this creative idea. Using this water heater the waste of energy and pollution are reduced. The environment thanks. I hope that more people in the world do their bests to make our world a better place to live. The world we live today isn´t the same. And we have to adapt to all changes.

    23. Ariene Says:

      I think that it’s really interesting the idea presented in your blog. The project will be very helpful and advantageous for everybody. I hope that your report helps in the showing up of the project, and raise the population’s awareness.

    24. Gabriel Castro Says:

      I really liked the idea and i think it can be improved to get prettier, because these pet bottles are really ugly. I think it’s a great start to an awesome new solar water heater system which can change the way that people use water, making an awesome world-wide recycling that will help and change the environment . We will all go green!

    25. Juliana Says:

      Congratulations to the government of Parana! I thought a great experience that may one day change the world. If there is a way to wider dissemination of this experience, you would find many supporters and be able to reduce large-scale energy expenditure worldwide. Keep doing these experiments because it is through people like you who can be found the resolution to various environmental problems.

    26. Maira Rocha Says:

      The initiative to build solar heaters with plastic bottles is very creative, innovative, useful and environmentally friendly. To take home a solar heater is the common need to spend a high amount, despite aconomia he brings the bill, and the solar heater made ??of plastic bottles and milk cartons dispesa not bring any, and prevents these bottles are thrown in environment. Thus generating different benefits.

    27. Nícolas Maduro Says:

      That’s brilliant! I’ve seen solar air preheaters made from aluminum cans that worked well, but because of the temperatures, I would never have even thought about using old pet bottles. Besides heating the water so ecologically it also recycles pet bottles. That’s definitely something worth looking into. Good Job!

    28. PK Says:

      Amazing! Great idea in favor of the environment. While taking up the PET bottles from the environment, the bottle is used for electricity and also to heat water. Two problems in a single shot. Point for sustainability!

    29. Mairon Quintão Castro Says:

      I stay really glad when people reuse things to make sustainable objects. This idea of making a solar heater made of PET bottles is amazing. It’s perfect for everyone, because by using solar heater like this, we’re doing a big flavor to the environment. Besides saving a lot of energy, we’ll be able to make a clear world. If the idea goes on, those PETs won’t let our streets smeared anymore, a our energy bill will reduce significantly.

    30. Talles de Sousa Costa Says:

      I knew this idea long ago and have until your mode of preparation, because my mom had the idea to build this Solar Water Heater and even joined materials because here in my country, Brazil, is not really feasible to purchase your version industrialized by the majority population. At that time, she had no time to finish this project, but now she is retired and can devote more time to this amazing idea.

    31. Gabriella Says:

      It is a good idea, practical and low cost. Besides extremely ecological.

      This type of recycling is feasible in two major aspects. It strips the plastic bottles from the environment and also reduces the use of electricity using a renewable energy source. In addition, it’s very easy to assemble!

    32. Marcelo Augusto - ELE 2A Says:

      This idea is amazing. A renewable energy source being built through recyclable objects. This is totally beneficial to the environment and reduce costs with the cost of electricity. It seems even an exchange of favors. You make good to the environment, and in turn, have your expenses reduced. Too bad this idea does not interest everyone. Imagine if everyone thought about making a solar power generator in their homes. There would be a reduction in energy expenditure absurd. Better still, built with recycled objects, which further reduces the harm caused to the environment. Who had the idea of ecological solar heater deserves applause because there is anyone who sits at a desk and think about alternatives at the same time improving people’s lives, reduce impacts on the environment.

    33. Tiago Felipe Says:

      Today, due to mass consumption and the unconsciousness of how properly dispose of trash, it became necessary to create projects like this in Parana, aimed at recycling waste, making it, useful again. It would be more appropriate for projects such as these expand, with the creation of more solar heaters made ??from recycled bottles, so that reduces the amount of waste, reuse what can be reused, and even save energy. is a great idea to promote.

    34. Danrlei Ribeiro Says:

      Well, I really liked this publication. Unfortunately, Brazil is a country where there is too much litter, wastefulness and other bad things. But, this action shows that still exist concern about this.
      May we continue with this good ideas for transforming the world to a better place. May we continue with this good ideas for change the world, in order to have a best home.

    35. Eduardo Augusto Says:

      I like a lot this idea, because the solar water heater using PET bottles make fully accessible something that would be virtually impossible for people of low class, in addition to that to build a solar water heater of this type, we can significantly reduce the amount of waste that would otherwise be thrown away.

    36. Ianka Barros Says:

      This is a great idea, but I do not think smart use this in public buildings, where people do not take a shower, why we do not need hot water in the sink. For greater energy savings would need to use it in places and home where people take hot bath.

    37. Igor Says:

      Very interesting this subject.
      Besides the recycling that is made of plastic bottles and containers of long-life milk, electric economy is very important.
      The idea could muster economy with environmental preservation.
      The event deserves and winning several followers.
      This kind of idea deserves more government support, it is so that we can take recycling seriously and increasingly reduce the waste that only pollutes our planet.

    38. Guilherme Henrique Costa Says:

      i think the solar water heater made of pet bottles is a great idea,because is natural energy from the sun to the residents of the house with that system.

    39. Guilherme Henrique Costa Says:

      it’s very good to the environment and its a free energy, with easy access for all, but requires constant maintenance of plastic bottles.

    40. DIY Plastic Bottle Solar Water Heater Says:

      […] You can see more pictures of this diy solar water heater on the Themas blog here […]

    41. Binny Says:

      Its sooo nice idea. I plan to do this our project. So i need more notes about this.

    42. Johann Says:

      Wouldn’tit be better to recycle wine bottles to do the same? More efficient and aestheticand notoxic leaking of plastic in the sun and no maintencance of decomposed plastic bottles.

    43. 15 DIY Solar Water Heater Plans Says:

      […] Make a DIY solar hot water heater from used pop […]

    44. Josain Zsun Says:

      Are these bottles UV susceptible, i.e. biodegradable in sunlight?

    45. Arturo Alba Says:

      More information.

    46. matt verm Says:

      all looks and sound great but without instructions how to assemble one useless

    47. Ibtrker53 Says:

      Where can I find this in English?

    48. Diamantine Says:

      People are asking about how to do the same solar heater here on this site there is the link to the PDF file and some more explanation:

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