Solar Powered Mobile Water Purifiers
Energy Future|July - September 2020
Various methods exist for the purification of water. The lack of fuel use has made the solar energy application relatively superior than the conventional sources of energy for water purification as it does not cause various types of pollution effects. Suram Singh Verma, in this article, talks about solar powered water purifiers and elaborate on their advantages and challenges.
Suram Singh Verma

All forms of pollution (soil, water, and air) have an impact on the environment. Everyone desires to breath pure air and drink clean water. Various methods of water purification (water purifiers) are used. They can be place specific, energy-consuming, and costly. There is always a quest to find a low cost and mobile water purifier system that can cater to the growing demands of people for pure water. Low-cost solar-powered water purifier is one such innovation. It can convert any source of water (e.g., seawater, rainwater, brackish tap water) into potable water and remove both inorganic contaminants (arsenic, fluoride, heavy metals, etc.) and organic contaminants (pathogenic bacteria). It does not require periodic replacement of filters. In other water purifiers, filters get clogged and become useless. It is developed by researchers at Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. It is easy to construct and given as an open-source design so that anyone interested can download and build it. This open-source solar water purifier can transform water into potable water from any source, for example, sea, river, pond, wells, or even water collected from rain. The low-cost mobile solar-powered water purifier can also provide safe drinking water in areas where the only sources are contaminated with arsenic, fluoride, or sewage. This device works on the principle that impure water is evaporated using solar energy and vapours are condensed to pure water on a cold surface. During the filtering process, bacteria, heavy metals, arsenic, fluoride, and other impurities are removed and pure potable water of the order of 1.5 L from 3 L of impure water can be produced daily.

Solar water purification involves the use of solar energy in many different ways to purify water for drinking and household purposes. Solar energy treatment of water has become more common as it is a low-cost and easy technology solution that works to capture heat energy from the sun to make water cleaner and healthier for drinking and other human uses. Solar water treatment is beneficial not only in case of adverse conditions, such as floods, storms, and typhoons, but also for rural communities. People in rural areas have limited access to other forms of water purification infrastructure that are based on the use of electricity. In comparison to other water purification methodologies, the solar water purification technique has the following advantages:

» Renewable solar energy powered water purifying system requires no gasoline or other fuels.

» This technique can provide 100% safe and clean drinking water anytime and anywhere.

» It is simple to use and requires low maintenance.

» It is ideal for temporary installations and emergency situations.

» It can be used even in rural areas with no power.

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