Life cycle assessment comparison of point-of-use water treatment technologies: solar water disinfection (SODIS), boiling water, and chlorination

Sarita S Nair, Ramesh Marasini, Lyndon Buck, Rita Dhodapkar, Javier Marugan, K Vijaya Lakshmi, Kevin G McGuigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous different point-of-use (POU) water treatment technologies exist that can remove, reduce or inactivate microbial pathogens present in untreated drinking water. However, there have been uncertainties as to which technology is best suited to rural populations. Environmental impacts of these technologies can bring further threats to rural communities, so the life cycle assessment (LCA) approach is frequently used to compare different POU water treatment technologies. The present study uses LCA to compare three treatment options: solar water disinfection (SODIS) using a Transparent Jerrycan (TJC), boiling, and chlorination. A life cycle inventory database is created for each stage, calculating the embodied energy and transportation energy considering daily reliance for all the technologies. Direct carbon dioxide emission at the point of use of energy/fuel, particulate matter formation and smog formation analysis can help to implement the most appropriate technology. The life-cycle assessment in this study indicates that when considering the environmental impact associated with providing sufficient safe drinking water for a family of six over a period of 6 months, SODIS has been found to have better sustainability credentials as a water treatment technology (6.0 kg CO2e per functional unit) with low contribution in all the three impact categories, followed by chlorination (9.8 kg CO2 e per functional unit) and boiling water (6808 kg CO2e per functional unit).
Original languageEnglish
Article number110015
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Chemical engineering
Issue number3
Early online date28 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the financial support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme for the PANIWATER project (GA 820718), funded jointly by European Commission and Department of Science and Technology, India.


  • Life cycle assessment
  • Drinking water
  • Chlorination
  • Global warming potential


Dive into the research topics of 'Life cycle assessment comparison of point-of-use water treatment technologies: solar water disinfection (SODIS), boiling water, and chlorination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this