Portable Desalination System Powered By Solar Energy

A group of researcher s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have unveiled a portable solar-powered desalination plant which they say will help provide access to clean drinking water in the developing world.
 
The solar desalination system uses solar panels for energy and a reverse osmosis filtration system to remove salt and other particle from the water, rendering it drinkable. 
 
The MIT research team, headed by Professor Steven Dubowsky and working out of the Field and Space Robotics Laboratory, have developed their system with mobility, energy efficiency and a focus on solar power in mind.
 
The system needed to be as user-friendly as possible to ensure it could operate anywhere and be used by anyone. The solar photovoltaic array utilises a computer algorithm that tracks the sun and diverts power when the weather is cloudy. Solar energy pumps dirty or salty water through the plant’s membrane layers, and the module is made from basic parts such as PVC pipe. 
 
Though still in its design phase, the team hopes scale up the size of the solar module for use in disaster zones and desert areas where climate change has impacted on water stocks.
 
“The supply of energy and clean water to remote locations, such as desert facilities, farming operations, resorts, and small villages in the developing world can be logistically complex and expensive. This project explores the feasibility, design and control of small smart power units to provide clean water and energy to remote sites by using solar power and reverse osmosis modules,” according to the team’s mission statement.