Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fresh Water For The World's Poorest

Date:
January 9, 2008
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Lack of water causes great distress among the population in large parts of Africa and Asia. Small decentralized water treatment plants with an autonomous power supply can help solve the problem: They transform salty seawater or brackish water into pure drinking water. Large industrial plants for the desalination of seawater deliver 50 million cubic meters of fresh water every day -- particularly in the coastal cities of the Middle East. However, the technology is complex and consumes large amounts of energy.

Lack of water causes great distress among the population in large parts of Africa and Asia. Small decentralized water treatment plants with an autonomous power supply can help solve the problem: They transform salty seawater or brackish water into pure drinking water.
Credit: Image courtesy of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Lack of water causes great distress among the population in large parts of Africa and Asia. Small decentralized water treatment plants with an autonomous power supply can help solve the problem: They transform salty seawater or brackish water into pure drinking water.

Large industrial plants for the desalination of seawater deliver 50 million cubic meters of fresh water every day – particularly in the coastal cities of the Middle East. However, the technology is complex and consumes large amounts of energy. It is not suitable for the arid and semiarid regions of Africa and India, though these are the very places where it is becoming increasingly difficult to supply drinking water, particularly in rural areas.

“The regions have a very poor infrastructure. Quite often there is no electricity grid, so conventional desalination plants are out of the question,” states Joachim Koschikowski of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg. In various EU-funded projects over the past few years, he and his team have developed small, decentralized water desalination plants that produce fresh drinking water with their own independent solar power supply.

“Our plants work on the principle of membrane distillation,” explains Koschikowski. This can best be explained by the principle of a Gore-Tex jacket, in which the membrane prevents rainwater from penetrating through to the skin. At the same time, water vapor formed inside the jacket by perspiration is passed through to the outside. “In our plant, the salty water is heated up and guided along a micro-porous, water-repellent membrane. Cold drinking water flows along the other side of the membrane. The steam pressure gradient resulting from the temperature difference causes part of the salt water to evaporate and pass through the membrane. The salt is left behind, and the water vapor condenses as it cools on the other side. It leaves us with clean, germ-free water,” says Koschikowski.

The researchers have so far built two different systems, both with their own energy supply. “Our compact system for about 120 liters of fresh water per day consists of six square meters of thermal solar collectors, a small photovoltaic module to power a pump, and the desalination module itself,” explains Koschikowski. In the dual-circuit system, on the other hand, several desalination modules are connected in parallel, enabling several cubic meters of water to be treated every day.

One cubic meter of drinking water – 1000 liters – will cost about 10 euros. “When you think how much the inhabitants currently have to pay for the same amount of bottled water or soft drinks, the plant will pay off very quickly,” claims Koschikowski. The test plants in Gran Canaria and in Jordan have been operating successfully for some time. The researchers are therefore planning to market the plants through a spin-off known as “SolarSpring” from the middle of this year.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Fresh Water For The World's Poorest." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104140733.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2008, January 9). Fresh Water For The World's Poorest. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104140733.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Fresh Water For The World's Poorest." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104140733.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Magic Leap isn't publicizing much more than a description of its product, but it’s been enough for Google and others to invest more than $500M. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins