MIT Researchers Create Solar Desalination System That Offers Potable Water for $4
A new affordable solar desalination process utilizes gravity-driven convection for purifying water and making it drinkable for the whole family
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have recently come up with a new solar desalination system. What’s best about this drinking water system is that it provides potable water for just $4. The researchers claim that their new desalination system works efficiently and less expensively compared to previous methods of desalination.
MIT researchers have developed this new device in collaboration with experts from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. Together the experts from the two top institutes in the world have developed a new device that’s able to harness the sun’s energy to remove salt from water. Conventionally, such systems make use of a wick for drawing water. But when the wick is full of salt, the device requires maintenance and cleaning. This is not what would be desired in a survival situation.
This new solar desalination system includes various layers. However, the key to the technique is black paint along with polyurethane containing 2.5mm holes drilled. Once salt water pours into the top layer, the black paint draws the sun’s heat to this layer. This further leads to desired water vapor creation for collection.
Any water left in the layer is extra salty and extra dense. The bottom layer of this device has more saltwater. The layers in-between the top and the bottom are for maintaining heat in the top layer. Meanwhile, these in-between layers allow the super-dense saltwater to push downward for mixing with normal-density salt water as per the natural convection process.
Since the materials used for this technique are common, a one-meter-square system costs around $4 for production. This sized device is sufficient to provide daily drinking water to an entire family.
So far, the two prototypes of the solar desalination device are under the process of outdoor testing. While the device has already worked flawlessly for a week without signs of salt accumulation, the researchers are not sure yet how long it could work.
If in further tests it proves to be durable, this could be a significantly cheap method of getting fresh water for people in many regions. Hence, it could solve the water crisis in many parts of the world.
Via: Big Think