A group of researchers from MIT’s Field and Space Robotics Laboratory (FSRL) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering found a new way to combat the lack of potable water from disaster zones and remote regions.
They designed an eco-friendly water desalination system powered by solar energy that allows rapid transportation in disaster-struck areas such as small villages in developing countries, farms or desert locations to produce drinking water.
Besides its small dimensions, MIT’s system is much more cleaner compared to conventional desalination systems which require lots of energy and an enormous infrastructure.
The new system is composed of a photovoltaic panel that generates electricity for a pump to push seawater through a permeable membrane in order remove salt and other minerals. The solar-powered water desalination system is also equipped with various sensors that allow it to filter water even if it’s cloudy outside.
The researchers demonstrated the the prototype is capable of producing about 80 gallons of water a day in various weather conditions. According to the team, a larger version of the unit can provide 1000 gallons of water each day, having an estimated price of $8,000. They also claim that two dozen desalination units could be transported into one C-130 cargo airplane and so more than 10,000 people could have potable water.