Fresh Clean Drinking Water is a huge problem in many parts of the world. The first thing that comes to mind is lack of clean water in Africa, but if you look at the news headlines we have this problem here in US as well – the great California drought. Hoping for rain and dancing around campfires may have worked in the 19th century, because rain would surely come sooner or later. But today, with global climate changes, rain may come, but it probably won’t be enough, or it will be in the wrong place. However, humans NEED fresh and clean water to survive.
One way to produce clean water is to use Salt water from the sea / ocean and clean it to the point of being able to drink it. In Israel for example, over 60% of all drinking water now comes from the Mediterranean sea. This is awesome, but this comes at a cost of HIGH energy use needed to clean this water. In Israel, there are currently 5 state of the art water desalination facilities located along the shore line, with plans to build more in the near future. These facilities will soon produce 100% of all drinking water in Israel, but energy usage will be staggering as a result.
There is a solution however that can provide clean water without using any energy resources – Solar Water Desalination!
Here is how it works:
It is actually fairly simple and not that expensive to produce clean water using Solar Desalination Process. All you need is a low tech glass dome with black color water reservoir in the center and water collection around the edges.
Salt / dirty water goes in the center reservoir, and as sun heats it up, water begins to evaporate. Vapors settle on the glass dome, turn into drops of water, and slowly run down to clean water collectors located on all four sides of the dome. Finally, this water collects in the clean water containers.
There are two main problems associated with this method:
- Solar Water Desalination is SLOW! The production rate is roughly 10 liters per day per 2 square meters of desalinator area. So if you have a large group of people, you will need a lot of these apparatus to produce enough fresh water for everyone. To achieve this, you need a lot of LAND, which brings us to the second main problem:
- Using land for Solar Water Desalination may affect the environment in that area. Basically, environmentalists are concerned that if people were to install many of these evaporators, covering square miles, it will affect local ecology.
I think the if you are in the desert, there is a lot of wasted land and if you put many of these evaporators, you won’t have any major impact on local ecology. But I’m not an expert.
Bottom line – I think if people were to install these sporadically, say no more than 100-1000 units in one place, they could produce sizable amounts of fresh water without doing any damage to the local environment / ecology. However, this creates additional difficulty of delivering salt water to multiple small sites.
Lastly, there will always be settlements / residue left behind, after salt / dirty water evaporates, which will have to be manually cleaned and moved somewhere. So such facilities would require regular maintenance. But all these are solvable issues, and these low tech evaporators are cheap to build and easy to deploy where needed.
What do you think is an OPTIMAL solution for cleaning salt water?