Photo Credit: Public Domain/ronymichaud
The team of researchers at ‘University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ have invented a way of making the solar-powered purifiers more efficient than the conventional ones.
Attaining drinkable and clean water is a global problem which needs to be addressed as efficiently as possible. Conventional Solar Stills distill impure water using solar energy to evaporate, cool then collect the pure water. These Solar Stills are portable and economical since they do not need electricity to function. The researchers decided to improve the efficiency of the evaporation process and minimize the amount of loss of solar energy.
The team has developed a ‘solar vapour generator’ that cleans the water through evaporation process. They used insulating polystyrene foam and an absorbent paper coated in carbon black. The water gets absorbed by the paper and the sunlight gets absorbed by carbon black which is turned into heat. In this innovative method, about 88% of solar energy gets converted into heat and the researcher are aiming to convert 100% solar energy to improve the efficiency of the entire process.
The commercial solar stills produce only 1 to 5 litres of water; however the new and improved solar stills can produce 3 to 10 litres of water per day. Associate professor of electrical engineering, Qiaoqiang Gan, has stated that the money required to produce water can be as cheaper as $1.60 per square meter, which is a lot less than the systems which require optical concentrators.
The team is now waiting for investors to come forward to commercialize the device. It will certainly be a boon to those areas which do not have effortless access to clean water.