Solar Distillation

The technical brief contains the information on solar distillation process that provides clean and safe drinking water to people living in areas with less access to it. Solar distillation is the process of removing salts and other impurities using the energy of the sun to get pure water for drinking. Distillation is one of many processes that can be used for water purification and can use any heating source. Solar water distillation is relatively old technology for water purification compared to the latest ones. But it is one of the efficient ways that allow access to clean water to people. A solar water distiller uses solar energy that can separate salt or brackish into fresh drinking water through the method of reverse osmosis. Unlike other methods of water purification, this technology is simple and energy efficient to use, making it a cheaper alternative to clean drinking water. Solar water distillation process includes the use of solar still that separates clean water by the process of vaporization. There are various approaches to solar-powered water distillation such as photovoltaic powered reverse osmosis but it has to be compared to determine its appropriateness according to the situation. If one requires the treatment of polluted water rather than distillation then sand filtration method can be the low-cost option. The structure used in solar water distillation process is solar still that distills water with the energy of the sun as heat evaporates the water and the still collects the condensate when the water is cool. This technology can be used in the place where there is acute water shortage as people can obtain clean water from water collected from plants and another impure source. This brief provides information on various types of solar still that one can use for safe drinking water. These stills can be combined with rainwater harvesting system, a greenhouse and supplementary heating where waste heat can be converted additional energy input for clean drinking water. Simple and small water distillers can be built for smaller households and a larger system can be built for the whole community.

Collections Energy Latin America Practical Answers Solar Energy United Kingdom Water and Sanitation Water Quality and Treatment
Issue Date 2014
Format Fact Sheet
Rights Holders Practical Action