Solar-Powered Water Purifier for Global Drinking Water Shortages

 

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From the top left corner, moving clockwise, the four images depict: University at Buffalo students performing an experiment, clean drinking water, water evaporating, and black carbon wrapped around plastic in water with evaporated vapor on top evaporated water. Credit: University at Buffalo. – http://www.azocleantech.com/images/news/NewsImage_23909.jpg

New Solar-Powered Water Purifier Could Help Address Global Drinking Water Shortages

Written by AZoCleantech

You have seen how Bear Grylls turns polluted water into drinking water with little more than plastic and sunlight. Based on this survival technique, academics have now added a third element – carbon-dipped paper – to create a highly efficient and inexpensive method to turn contaminated water and saltwater into potable water for personal use.

The idea could help address drinking water shortages worldwide, and especially in developing areas and territories affected by natural disasters. This is described in a study published online today (Jan. 30, 2017) in the Global Challenges journal.

Using extremely low-cost materials, we have been able to create a system that makes near maximum use of the solar energy during evaporation. At the same time, we are minimizing the amount of heat loss during this process.

Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo

Other members of the research team are from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University at Buffalo‘s Department of Chemistry, Fudan University in China, and the lab of Gan, who is a member of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics and UB’s RENEW Institute, an interdisciplinary institute dedicated to solving complex environmental problems.

Solar Vapor Generator

In order to perform the study, the research team created a small-scale solar still. The device, known as a “solar vapor generator,” uses the heat converted from sunlight to clean or desalinate water. Here’s how the device works:

Read the full story: AZO Cleantech

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.