April 10, 2024

Solar-Powered Tech Turns Saltwater Drinkable

Solar power and clean drinking water sound like a winning combination, and the scientists at King’s College London (KCL) in England have developed a nifty piece of technology that can transform saltwater into freshwater.

Safe drinking water is a universal human right, but in the developing world, access to this precious resource presents a challenge. To assist with addressing water scarcity, the London-based team of researchers created a solar-powered system that can consistently produce water.

This life-giving technology was made possible through a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, and the German Helmholtz Institute for Renewable Energy Systems.

Desalination is an expensive process to remove salt from seawater, but the KCL system – which uses specialised membranes to channel salt ions into a steady stream of brine, leaving fresh water – claims to be “20 per cent cheaper than traditional methods.”

The system was first tested in a village near Hyderabad in India, producing enough water to quench the thirst of 3000 people a day. With its adjustable voltage and water flow rate, the system can also be used according to the level of sunlight available.

“By offering a cheap, eco-friendly alternative that can be operated off the grid, our technology enables communities to tap into alternative water sources,” said Dr Wei He, the senior engineering lecturer at KCL, in a statement.

“This technology can expand water sources available to communities beyond traditional ones and by providing water from uncontaminated saline sources, may help combat water scarcity or unexpected emergencies when conventional water supplies are disrupted.”

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