Engineers have taken aim at the problem of water shortages in arid coastal areas.
Up to now, dry areas close to the sea wells can see wells become so depleted that seawater leaches into the freshwater supply. A team from the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability has created a solar-powered distillation unit that can desalinate water.
The prototype distillation unit can distil 150 litres (40 gallons) of water per day and can scale up to 3,000 litres (793 gallons). That is around 5 truckloads of water. This is an eco-friendly game changer for those struggling depleted wells.
We developed this product with a particular community in mind, but we realized that it would be good for a number of communities Jose Alfaro, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability
The team created the system for Tastiota. This small village in the Sonoran desert relied on transporting water over 62 miles via road from their nearest water source.
Distilling the water produces not just water, but salt that the village can now sell. This means that the system is not just eco-friendly by sustainable as it generates sellable byproduct. This gives the techs financial viability a boost.
This new solution could have far-reaching implications across the world. All the system needs to work is direct sunlight.
The team now plans to take their systemto communities in West Africa, Lima, Peru, and along the coast of Chile.