Solar steam generation system produces clean water from salt water

Researchers at Monash University in Australia developed a solar powered steam generation system that produces clean water from salty water with almost 100 per cent salt removal.

Worldwide, an estimated 844 million people do not have access to clean water. Seawater desalination and wastewater recycling are two ways to ease water shortage, but the downside of these options is that conventional methods are energy intensive and rely on fossil fuels.

The new technology developed by the researchers at Monash University is energy passive and able to deliver clean, potable water to thousands of communities. The system achieves efficient and continuous clean water production from salty water with almost 100 per cent salt removal using photothermal materials. The device uses super-hydrophilic filter paper with a layer of carbon nanotubes for light absorption.

Saline water is carried up by a cotton thread to the centre of the evaporation disk. Salt crystallisation is precisely controlled so that it only happens at the edge of the evaporation disk, harvesting the salts. The filter paper traps the clean water.

According to the researchers, this technology has also great potential in other fields, such as industry wastewater zero liquid discharge, sludge dewatering, mining tailings management and resource recovery. Future studies will look to extend the technology to these applications with industry support.

Photo: Monash University


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