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 the solar desalination equipment which we seek to understand further in this article to help you make informed decisions.
What Is Solar Desalination Equipment?
Solar desalination equipment is used 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 Desalination Equipment Makes 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.
To increase 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.
Reasons For Powering Solar Desalination Equipment Using Solar Energy.
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. These are:
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 direct method is very easy and cheap. The water in the desalination equipment is made hot by the sun by transforming the fluid into steam. During the warm-up, the steam rises to the top of the solar desalination equipment, accumulates on the inside, and liquefies back to liquid as pure water in a separate water vessel. The salt cannot turn into a gas and therefore remains in the initial solar desalination equipment.
Direct solar desalination performs well in purification though the low temperature of the solar desalination equipment produces less water in a day. The amount of water produced in a day by the desalination equipment is proportional to its surface area.
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.
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 micron. 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.
With the growing demand for clean water and increasing population around the world, there is no doubt that the already scarce clean water will become more scarce. We, therefore, need to continue looking for more ways of tapping into excess “unclean” water and cleaning it. The solar desalination equipment from Newater is such a great solution for both homes and organizations.
Solar desalination equipment has great benefits both environmentally, healthwise, and even economically. If you have been looking for ways to improve the quality of your water that does not get deep into your pocket, then solar desalination equipment is your ideal solution. Get in touch with us for a more comprehensive quote.