The Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, has chosen Petra Wadström, founder and inventor of Solvatten, as the recipient of this year’s Grand Prize, awarded to people who have made groundbreaking discoveries. KTH’s Grand Prize is awarded annually and includes previous laureates such as Johan Rockström, Stina Ehrensvärds, Max Tegmark, Hans Rosling and Christer Fuglesang.

The prize sum is SEK 1.2 million, and here’s the Grand Prize justification: “Clean water is crucial for people’s health, opportunities and quality of life. It is also critical for future generations and the prospect of sustainable development. Petra Wadström is a unique problem solver with a large measure of tenacity who, through her innovation Solvatten, has changed the lives of many people, not least women around the world. Petra Wadström has created a solution that is as simple and durable as it is ingenious, where the water can be purified with the help of the sun alone. With this invention, more people get access to vital, clean water every day. Petra Wadström is a very worthy recipient of the KTH Grand Prize.”

“It means so much that KTH has recognised Solvatten and as such, can help us increase awareness of our mission. Since Solvatten’s inception, approximately 500,000 people around the world now use Solvatten on a daily basis. There are a large number of families and children who are now better off thanks to Solvatten and all the strong collaborations we have with partner organisations, companies and donors,” says Petra Wadström.

Solvatten and Petra Wadström have won several prizes and awards including Aftonbladet’s Environmental Hero, the EU Prize for Women Inventors, the UNFCCC Momentum for Change, the Polhem Prize, WWF Climate Solver, the Swedish Design Prize, the SKAPA Prize and the Änglamark Prize.

“My vision for the future is that warm and safe water from a clean, renewable energy source can be found in every home,” says Petra Wadström.

“But it requires joint efforts to solve this great challenge and a new standard would be needed for that. We must also fight for the future and each other together. Sustainable solutions need to reach further and faster. Hundreds of thousands of people use Solvatten daily, which feels incredibly large, but we want to reach millions more families. Everyone can help.”

The SDGs (the UN Sustainable Development Goals) can be supported in both big and small ways, from DNA and micro level to global climate and macro level, and Solvatten covers the entire range.