The scarcity of safe drinking water is one of the issues that are going to affect many people for years to come. Clean and safe drinking water is just as precious as energy. Any effort to make it available whenever needed is key to healthy living and a prosperous economy.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1 billion people do not have access to safe water. That translates to every one out of seven people. Most of these people mainly live in rural areas. These areas are sparsely and remotely populated thus making it non-economical to have a traditional water cleaning solution or system.
Water treatment is therefore key in ensuring a smooth running of our day-to-day activities. There are many water treatment solutions. One among them is solar desalination equipment.
In this article we hope to learn more about “how does solar desalination work”, and whether it can be a savior in solving water scarcity.
➢What Is Solar Desalination?
Solar desalination process is aim to transform salty water into clean water. It does this through the conversion of energy from the sun to heat either directly (thermal) or indirectly (photovoltaic) to steer the desalination exercise. The desalination process is where the salt is separated from the salty water. The desalination exercise has been applied by many people as a basic process for water treatment since the early days.
➢Why Does Solar Powered Desalination Kit Make Sense?
Saltwater is 97% of all the water on earth. This leaves us with 3% of water for consumption and can even be less than that. Of the 3% fresh water, two-thirds of this is normally frozen and ice. This means that we only have 1% of the overall earth’s water that is liquid, non-salty thus making it a very scarce commodity.
Increasing the volume of clean water, therefore, means we have to tap into the 97% water reserve that’s salty. This is especially so in regions where there is little to no availability of fresh water. The majority of these areas are Africa and the middle east. Something good is that these regions normally have enough sources of renewable energy like sunshine.
This provides a very good avenue to utilize the sunshine to make the salty water safe for use. We can only do this using solar desalination equipment. Using solar desalination equipment, you can use the sun to remove the unwanted minerals from the salty water to make it safe for drinking. You can also use this water for irrigation farming since it’s safe for the plants as well.
➢Solar Desalination Plant for Small Size Use
We all know that access to clean, healthy water is a luxury during long-distance travel, especially offshore operations, or remote off-grid homes.
But now, the solar desalination kit can perfectly solve the problem of water shortage in different application fields, such as long-distance travel, personal yachts, personal boats, fishing boats, campers, emergency, and island families. Because wherever there are human beings, there is solar energy. Solar energy is the most widely used renewable energy, and it also means desalination of seawater could be done anytime, anywhere.
The successful use of portable salt water desalination kits can be seen everywhere. Especially the desalination kit for boats, it is no longer a problem to get fresh water for cooking, bathing, and drinking on the boat.
➢What is Solar Powered Desalination Plant Cost?
Taking China as an example, the data shows that the production cost per ton of fresh water is $0.7-$1.2 when the seawater desalination project produces 200,000 tons of fresh water per day. In 2013, China’s first solar thermal seawater desalination was completed and put into operation. The daily output is about 30 tons, which can meet the needs of about 5,000 people for clean drinking water. The cost of water production is about 45% of that of traditional installations.
The first “solar dome” seawater desalination plant in Saudi Arabia will start construction in 2020. Concentrating solar technology is used for seawater desalination, and the final production cost is as low as $0.34/ton.
➢Learn More About Solar Desalination Kit
The main reason for using solar desalination equipment is the cost reduction of water purification and greenhouse gas emissions.
- The common way of obtaining safe and clean water to drink in areas that lack a fresh water supply is boiling. More than 300 million people choose to boil water as a purification method. This is necessary but unfortunately, it creates millions of CO2 per year.
- The purification of water is mainly done through the use of generators. They are powered by diesel which leads to CO2 emissions.
- The water bottles used for drinking water are mainly dumped in remorse areas thus increasing both the cost and carbon footprint.
Solar desalination equipment offers independence. It also helps in avoiding unnecessary changes in the prices of water from the water company.
With these challenges and many others, we seek to understand how solar desalination equipment can contribute to the provision of safe and clean water whenever it is needed. Solar desalination equipment uses different technologies.
Thermal Solar Desalination Equipment.
Thermal desalination can take place in two forms depending on the scale of the water purification system. These are:
• Direct Solar Desalination
The amount of water produced by the direct method in a day is directly proportional to the surface area of the desalination equipment. This process converts liquid into steam by allowing seawater to be heated by the sun. The steam reaches the top of the solar desalination plant during the preheating process, where it accumulates inside. The unit has a separate water container where the steam liquefies back to the liquid and becomes pure water. Salt from seawater remains in the device as a residue.
Direct solar desalination is characterized by simple operation, low cost, less daily water production, and good purification effect.
The direct solar desalination method is easy to operate hence making it convenient for the small-scale needs of families to be met. The exercise is fully steered by solar energy. This means that it can’t be negatively affected by the shift in the position of the sun and other weather conditions.
• Indirect Solar Desalination
The low production output from the direct solar desalination tool cannot be employed in commercial performance. As a result, an indirect method is employed to increase water production. Indirect solar desalination equipment is made of two systems namely:
- Solar collection system
- Desalination system
The work of the solar collection system is to absorb heat through the dollar collectors. It then supplies the heat to the thermal desalination process through the heat exchanger. Another function of the solar collection system of the solar desalination equipment is the conversion of electromagnetic solar radiation to useful electric power through the photovoltaic cells. This electricity is then used to power the whole solar desalination equipment for a complete water desalination process.
Some of the thermal desalination technologies include:
- Multi-Effect Humidification (MEH)
- Multi-Effect Distillation (MED)
- Multi-Effect Solar Desalination (MES)
- Multi-Stage Flash (MSF)
Membrane Solar Desalination Equipment.
After long-term development, solar desalination of seawater has derived a variety of technical methods. The most common membrane method is the use of solar reverse osmosis (reverse osmosis, RO) method. In addition, there is a small amount of application of solar electrodialysis (ED) method.
The membrane solar desalination equipment uses a hybrid membrane to perform the evaporative process. This requires two energy types namely electricity and low-temperature heat. Reverse Osmosis is the simplest form of Indirect solar desalination.
The basic principle of reverse osmosis is that the salty water (brackish) is pumped directly from the source. This can be either from the sea or underground water. The water goes to a filter where the sand is removed. An activated carbon filter is then used to remove the chemicals.
Once the salty water gets through the membrane due to pressure, the membrane, on a molecular level filters the salt off from the water. In essence, the salt from the water is filtered using a thing ultrafiltration membrane It has pores that are very small normally 0.0001 microns. The pores will only allow the water molecules to get through and not the salt in the water.
Whatever is left after the solar desalination equipment has removed all the water is referred to as brine. It contains salt at very high levels of salt. It is normally pumped to the evaporation pond, the brine will evaporate and salt will remain.
➢Advantages of Solar Desalination.
Solar desalination equipment compared to other water treatment equipment comes with many advantages. These include the following:
- Solar desalination equipment uses free energy from the sun: It solely depends on solar energy to undertake all its purification processes. This is not only cost-saving but also a way of protecting the environment. The use of diesel generates a lot of carbon that is harmful to all living things.
- Solar desalination equipment is cheap, light, and easy to carry: The cost of Solar desalination equipment is very affordable. It can be a good choice when getting other expensive water treatment equipment is beyond reach.
- Low costs of maintenance: The cost of maintaining the Solar desalination equipment is quite low. The replacement parts such as the filters are easily available and affordable. The fact they use solar, simply means that expensive power generators and their maintenance are not necessary.
- Environmentally friendly: Solar is a renewable source of energy. The use of solar desalination equipment greatly contributes to the conservation and protection of the environment.
➢How to Make a Solar Desalination？
After reading this, maybe you are tempted and eager to get a solar desalination kit. Or you want to know how to make a solar desalination.
There are many DIY seawater desalination equipment production tutorials on the Internet, you can search for keywords on the Internet and make relevant understanding. But we recommend you consult some solar desalination companies for professional solutions. Buy the desalination plant that best suits your needs and save money on investment, installation, and maintenance.
With the advancement of technology, solar desalination has occupied more and more seawater desalination markets, the utilization rate of solar energy has reached nearly 50%, and water production has been greatly improved.
Compared with the traditional seawater desalination method, it needs to directly or indirectly consume fossil energy, which is not only not conducive to environmental protection, but also harmful to substances and produces a greenhouse effect.
Therefore, the use of renewable energy such as solar energy to desalinate seawater has become the development trend of today’s seawater desalination technology.
NEWater’s solar powered water desalination kit is a great solution for both home and engineering projects. Please contact us for a more comprehensive quotation.