Can Sunshine Provide Clean Drinking Water? Desolenator Proves its Can [Innovation]
99% of those who are reading this blog will have no difficulty in drinking clean, pure water in the next 5 minutes. All that you need to do is open the tap and get as much water as you want, until you close the tap or filter.
But not everyone in this world are so fortunate.
Digest these depressing facts about drinking water:
- One out of five child deaths all over the world happens due to lack of clean drinking water
- 783 million people does not have access to even one glass of clean drinking water in a day; 37% of them are staying in Sub-Saharan Africa
- 443 million school days are lost due to lack of safe drinking water
- 1.6 billion people reside in areas where they have water, but cant afford to drink it
- Global water demand is all set to increase 40% in the next 10 years
- By 2050, 80% of underground water sources in India will dry up
[Source: 1, 2, 3, 4]
A team of 10 social entrepreneurs and technologists led by William Janssen, CEO, have decided that enough is enough; and have invented a solution which can disrupt the global water crisis, and can help millions of people to get access to clean drinking water at affordable price.
Desolenator has the potential to become a savior for millions of people.
What is Desolenator?
Combining Solar Photovoltaics (PV); Solar thermal and a heat exchanger, Desolenator provides a unique water purifier which desalinates undrinkable water and makes it ready to be consumed.
Over 97% of world’s water is actually saline (sea water), and it is this niche which desolenator aims to target. Only 0.8% of available drinking water actually comes from desalination, and the existing technologies and machines are grossly inefficient in this regard, as they suck up 0.5% of global energy.
Using renewable energy as the base, desolenator claims to provide 15 litres of drinking water with each unit; and every unit would be operational for 20 years, without any need to be connected with the grid or replacing any parts.
How It Works?
Desolenator is a solar powered water purification machine, which can treat all types of dirty and unhygienic solvents in water and purify them.
The apparatus maximizes the solar radiation which falls on its solar panels, and uses the energy to boil water, thereby removing bacteria and other harmful entities from the water. The water heats upto 90 degree using the electrical energy produced by solar PV. Using heat exchange mechanism, the vapors are collected, and then the energy is re-circulated to heat the next batch of water.
There are two outputs of water: one is clean drinking water, and the other is brine, which can be re-circulated in the unit.
Why Desolenator Is Different?
There exists solar power based desalination systems, but they consume enormous amount of energy, and the output is generally low, which doesn’t solve the purpose. Only rich countries like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are able to afford that; infact, 80% of all desalinated water is produced only in Saudi Arabia.
The problem is that solar panels can only convert 15-18% of the solar radiation which hits them, and the rest of the radiation is lost for ever. Desolenator taps maximum solar energy, and re-circulates it, thereby creating a renewable energy source which requires no maintenance is self-sustaining.
In order to achieve this, the engineers behind this amazing invention have reverse-engineered the working of the solar panel, and have added double glazing and foam to make it even hotter.
Once maximum solar radiation is collected, they cool it down by flowing a thin film of sea water above the panel, which is then redirected towards a kettle like structure where its heated using the recycled solar energy. As per the Janssen, “We harvest the energetic water vapor and feed it back into the insulated solar panel and use heat exchange to recover that energy. The vapor condenses and sweet water comes out of the device at the other end.”
As of now, based on the costs of material and technology, creators of desolenator have priced this machine for $450 or Rs 27,000 which is certainly steep for any citizen from under-developed countries. But considering that desolenator can work till 20 years, without any major maintenance requirement, the price looks justified, atleast on a broader level.
The team needs funds right now, and they have listed themselves in popular crowdsourcing platform: IndieGoGo. Out of $150,000 which they have asked, they have raised $75,970 as of now.
We hope that once all the research and testing is over, the price of this miracle machine will come down, and more and more people would be able to drink pure, cleaning water.
Desolenator certainly brings a new hope and a new light.