Solar Powered Desalination Unit: What it is and How to Choose it?


Seawater desalination technology is becoming more and more mature, and solar seawater desalination equipment using solar energy can be seen in more and more fields. Especially portable seawater desalination equipment, its plug and play, small footprint, no power supply, and other characteristics make it widely used in remote areas, island homes and hotels, boats, yachts, outdoor activities, and other fields.

Mobile solar desalination technology can convert salty water into fresh drinking water at any time with minimal impact on the surrounding environment. Recently, the application of energy recovery technology in solar desalination has also made it less energy-intensive and cheaper to produce water.

This article will guide you through what a solar-powered desalination unit is and how to ensure you choose the correct unit for your specific application.

Solar energy.

➣What is Solar Powered Desalination Unit?

The portable solar desalination device mainly uses reverse osmosis technology water. High pressure pushes the water through a membrane with extremely small pores to remove dissolved salts and minerals from the water, making it safe to drink. Compared with traditional reverse osmosis equipment, the energy that drives the operation of the equipment is converted from the original electrical energy to solar energy. The equipment typically consists of solar panels, desalination units, and purified water storage tanks. The solar panels generate electricity to power the desalination unit. The unit produces clean drinking water when it operates, which is stored in the tank until needed.

The solar desalination unit is designed to be easily transported and installed in a variety of locations. These devices are especially useful in areas where access to clean drinking water is limited, such as in remote areas or during natural disasters.

Mobile Solar Desalination Unit (2)

➣Types of Solar Powered Desalination Units and How Do They Function?

There are several types of solar-powered desalination units that are used to produce fresh water from seawater or brackish water. These units are designed to be portable and can be used in a variety of settings, including remote or off-grid locations.

· Solar Still

A solar still is a simple and inexpensive way to produce small amounts of fresh water from seawater or brackish water using solar energy. It consists of a shallow basin, a transparent cover, and a collecting vessel. The seawater or brackish water is placed in the basin, and the cover is placed over the top. As the sun heats the water, the water evaporates and condenses on the cover, which is cooled by the air. The condensed water then drips into the collecting vessel.

Figure 2 Solar still.

· Solar-Powered Reverse Osmosis System

As the name implies, a solar RO system is a technology that uses solar energy to power reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. Effectively removes salt and other impurities from seawater or brackish water. The purified water is collected in storage tanks and the wastewater is discharged.

How Does Solar-Powered Reverse Osmosis Work?
  • Pre-treatment: Before the reverse osmosis process begins, the seawater is typically treated with sediment filters and chemicals to remove any suspended solids or other contaminants that could clog the RO membranes. This step is known as pre-treatment.
  • Primary Treatment: The pre-treated seawater is then fed into the RO system through a feed water pump. The pump pressurizes the seawater and forces it through a series of RO membranes. RO membranes are thin, semi-permeable sheets that are made of a special material that allows water molecules to pass through but blocks larger contaminants like salt and other dissolved minerals.
  • Collection: When seawater with a high concentration of salt passes through the RO membrane, the extremely small pore size will divide the water into two streams, that is, purified pure water and concentrated water. Purified water is collected on one side, while on the other, pollutants are left behind. It is also known as concentrated brine because it contains concentrated contaminants.
  • Post-treatment: Although the water after RO treatment has reached a high degree of purity, the purified water may still contain a small amount of dissolved pollutants. A post-treatment process is added after the RO equipment, usually using chemicals or other processes to remove any remaining impurities in the pure water. This step is therefore also called postprocessing.
  • Disposal of Concentrated Brine: The concentrated brine that is produced during the RO process is typically disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner, such as by injecting it back into the ocean at a depth where it will not harm marine life.

Figure 3 Solar-powered reverse osmosis desalination.

  • Solar-Powered Distillation System.

A solar-powered distillation system uses solar energy to heat seawater or brackish water, which is then evaporated and collected as fresh water. This type of system is typically more expensive and requires more maintenance than a solar still or a solar-powered reverse osmosis system.

How Does a Mobile Solar-Powered Distillation System Work?

The process of solar-powered distillation involves several steps:

  • Pre-treatment: The incoming water is first filtered to remove any large particles or debris that could clog the system.
  • Evaporation: The water is then heated using solar energy, which causes it to evaporate and leave behind any dissolved solids, such as salt.
  • Condensation: The vapor is then cooled and condensed back into liquid form, producing clean, fresh water.
  • Collection: The freshwater is collected in a separate container, while the remaining brine or saltwater is disposed of.

Figure 4 Portable solar-powered desalination system.

➣How to Choose the Perfect Solar Powered Desalination Unit?

A solar-powered desalination unit is a useful tool for providing clean drinking water in areas where it is scarce or contaminated. However, there are several factors that you should consider when purchasing a solar desalination kit.

· Capacity

The capacity of the unit refers to the amount of water it can produce in a given period of time. It is important to consider the size of your family or community and the amount of water they will need.

· Solar Panel Efficiency

The efficiency of the solar panel plays a significant role in the performance of the desalination unit. A unit with a high-efficiency solar panel will be able to produce more water in a shorter period of time.

· Durability

The body of a solar desalination unit is able to withstand rough terrain and harsh weather conditions if it is made of durable, corrosion-resistant materials and has a robust design. The life of good equipment can reach 15-25 years.

· Portability

The unit should be easy to transport and set up in different locations. Consider the weight and size of the unit, as well as the availability of a carrying case or bag.

Figure 3 Portable Solar-Powered Water Desalination Device

· Maintenance

Maintenance is an important factor to consider when purchasing any water treatment equipment. Look for a unit with low maintenance requirements and easy-to-find replacement parts.

· Cost

The cost of the unit is an important factor to consider, especially if you are purchasing it for a community or non-profit organization. Look for a unit that offers good value for money and is within your budget.

· Customer Support

It is important to choose a unit from a reputable manufacturer that offers good customer support. This will ensure that you have access to technical assistance and support if you encounter any issues with the unit.

When purchasing a portable solar desalination unit, it is important to consider factors such as capacity, solar panel efficiency, durability, portability, maintenance, cost, and customer support. By taking these factors into account, you can find a unit that meets your needs and provides clean, fresh water for you and your community.

➣Portable Solar Powered Desalination Unit Advantages

Portable solar powered desalination units offer several advantages over traditional desalination systems, making them a suitable option for remote or off-grid locations.

· Portability

One major advantage of mobile solar desalination equipment is its portability. These units are typically small and lightweight, making them easy to transport and set up in a variety of locations. This is especially useful for remote or off-grid communities that may not have access to traditional desalination infrastructure.

· Low Environmental Impact

Another advantage of solar powered desalination units is their low environmental impact. Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source, and the use of solar energy for desalination eliminates the need for fossil fuels, which can produce harmful greenhouse gases and contribute to air pollution.

Solar Powered Seawater Desalination Skid

· Highly Effective

Solar-powered desalination units can be an effective way to produce clean, fresh water in areas where access to clean water is limited or where traditional water treatment methods are not feasible. These units use solar energy to power a desalination process that removes up to 99.7% of dissolved salts and other impurities from seawater or brackish water, producing clean, drinkable water.

· Relatively Inexpensive

Solar powered desalination units are also relatively inexpensive to operate and maintain. Because they rely on solar energy, there are no ongoing fuel costs, and the units themselves require minimal maintenance. This makes them an affordable and cost-effective solution for communities with limited resources.

· Easy to Integrate into Existing Treatment Systems

In addition, solar-powered desalination units can be easily integrated into existing water treatment systems. This allows communities to supplement their existing freshwater sources with additional purified water, increasing their overall water supply and improving access to clean drinking water.

Solar Powered Desalination Unit Applications

Solar powered desalination units can operate independently without being restricted by conditions such as steam and electricity. No pollution, safe, stable, and reliable operation. It is an ideal choice for fields with energy shortages and high environmental protection requirements without consuming conventional artificial energy.

The common application fields of solar-powered desalination units are:

  • Island family
  • Personal Watercraft and Yachts
  • Maritime
  • Military drinking water
  • Shipping company
  • Coastal water-scarce areas
  • Emergency
  • Irrigation resources
  • Industrial desalination


Overall, mobile desalination equipment is becoming increasingly popular as it provides a sustainable and cost-effective solution for producing clean drinking water in areas where access to fresh water is limited.

If you are looking to procure the perfect portable solar-powered desalination unit, NEWater is the place to shop. We are universally renowned for manufacturing high-end and customized desalination units and offering exemplary customer support. Contact us now to place your order.




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