Waterstillar’s solar powered drinking water

The other day I walked past a house and noted approvingly that it had solar panels and solar hot water fitted on the roof. If WaterStillar get their way, they might one day be able to add a third service: drinking water.

Over 700 million people around the world lack a source of clean water. Many more have access to water from a well or a shared pump, but need to treat it before it is safe to drink. The infrastructure to purify tap water to drinking quality is expensive, and in rural areas in particular, could remain a long way off.

There are plenty of low-tech ways to purify water. One is to boil it, which requires energy. It can be done chemically, which can taste weird and can be expensive. Another option is a solar still, but this produces small amounts at a time. This might be fine for a household, if a bit of a hassle. But purifying enough water for a restaurant, a hospital or a school is going to be prohibitive.

Waterstillar’s solution is to use the natural process of evaporation and condensation to distill clean water, and to accelerate it with thermal solar panels. The panels capture the sun’s heat and go to work evaporating whatever source of water you pipe in – such as rainwater, if you wish. Water vapor condenses onto a distillation panel and runs down to a tank. A single unit can create 200-300 litres of water a day, but this can be scaled up to thousands of litres if required. The system doesn’t need any external energy source, it is designed to last 20 years, and it claims to be “the most sustainable water purification system in the world.”

waterstillar

You can’t buy a WaterStillar purification system, as the up-front cost would be a problem for those that need it most. Instead, the company will install and monitor, and users just pay a quarterly water bill. Developed in Denmark, WaterStillar is currently piloting in Mexico, with plans for local partnerships to make the technology more widely available.

Now we just solar air conditioning and it will be possible to build a fully solar household.

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4 Comments on “Waterstillar’s solar powered drinking water”

  1. rogerglewis November 4, 2015 at 8:26 am #

    Hello Jeremy, Greetings from Sweden, thank you for writing about Waterstillar do let me know if you have any questions about the Process and the Company. Best Wishes,
    Roger G Lewis

  2. Krystel November 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. Do you know any recent updates about this project though? I’m really interested in the whole idea of a solar powered distiller and I’m glad that there are actually quite a few prototypes out there. I’m just hoping they really do reach those areas where they would be most helpful. If not, I believe it’s pretty easy to build one at home. I’ve written about it in my article on solar water distillation and I would love to share it to you and your readers. šŸ™‚

    • Jeremy Williams November 20, 2016 at 9:17 am #

      As far as I know they’re active in Mexico and Egypt, but they don’t sell the system. They fit it, and people pay for the water – so there’s room in the market for others doing similar things for a different market. Send me a link to your post and I’ll pass it around!

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