Desalination seems like an obvious solution in disaster zones where fresh drinking water is scarce; however, large-scale desalination plants with reliable electrical power and plenty of desalination capacity must often be constructed in order to do this effectively.
Researchers have devised a suitcase-sized device that utilizes less power than an average cellphone charger to produce water that meets World Health Organization standards at the touch of a button.
MIT’s Portable Desalination Case
Researchers from MIT have created a suitcase-sized device capable of turning saltwater into freshwater with only an off-the-shelf solar panel, creating enough drinking water daily for 10 people at half the cost and one tenth the power consumption as other desalination systems. Their efforts are described in Environmental Science and Technology; currently they’re searching for an investment company willing to commercialize this technology.
The MIT prototype desalination device stands out from most portable desalination devices by not using filters but instead employs an electrical process called ion concentration polarization and electrodialysis to separate salt from water, using only a fraction of energy consumed by large reverse osmosis systems; plus it requires no high-pressure pumps to force water through its membranes – making it much smaller and more portable than similar desalination machines.
The device’s ability to produce water without filters makes it particularly helpful in remote locations with limited access to clean drinking water, such as Boston’s Carson Beach or in MIT lab environments, where access is limited. Testing has taken place at Boston’s Carson Beach as well as within their lab, producing drinkable water in 30 minutes while using only 0.3 liters per hour of energy consumption. According to their team at MIT, their device exceeds World Health Organization quality standards while simultaneously eliminating bacteria and viruses.
While this MIT device is still in its early stages, its creators believe that it could make a substantial impact in disaster zones and remote regions where drinking water supplies are limited. Their team is already developing a larger version which may provide enough drinking water to meet up to 100,000 people’s daily needs.
Nona Desalination has attracted the interest of both military personnel, who are interested in purchasing units designed to fit on board C-130 cargo aircraft, humanitarian aid agencies that need field operations units for field use; boaters looking for fresh drinking water while traveling long distances; and so-called “apocalypse preppers,” who want to ensure survival through being self-reliant in case disaster strikes.
Oregon State University’s Humidifier
OSU Humidifier converts saltwater to freshwater by using reverse osmosis membrane and solar energy, helping OSU save both money and resources by eliminating the need to purchase water for campus events and classroom use. It can be found at OSU Corvallis campus International Living Learning Center (ILLC), also home of INTO-OSU and Weatherford Hall which won this year’s best residence hall award.
Individuals utilizing university housing must abide by all university standards, policies, and rules as outlined by relevant contracts or agreements as well as undergraduate and graduate catalogs.
MIT’s Electro-Membrane Desalination System
A team from MIT has designed and created a solar-powered device capable of turning saltwater into drinkable water. The unique layered design of the system enables water to circulate in swirling eddies similar to natural thermal haline circulation in the ocean and thus allows salt and freshwater to be separated without building up in traditional desalination devices, and has faster water production rates and higher salt-rejection rates than passive solar desalination devices.
The device comprises of several ion-exchange membranes that separate salt and water. Researchers were able to improve energy efficiency of this type of membrane by employing a coating layer which preferentially attracted ions towards it, thus decreasing size, solution volume and thus energy density of their device. They also integrated bipolar membranes for use in electrodialysis separation processes that distinguish saline from brine solutions.
Researchers carefully designed this portable device with improved membranes and electrodes stacked together in an easily portable format, and designed it with nonexpert users in mind; its user-friendly features included one button that automatically starts the filtration and desalination processes as well as sensors alerting when salinity levels and particle counts reach certain thresholds. Led by Junghyo Yoon from RLE and published in Environmental Science & Technology; other authors included Yang Zhong of MIT graduate students Evelyn Wang; former postdoc Hyukjin J Kwon; former postdoc Hyukjin J Kwon; SungKu Kang from Northeastern University; Junghyo Yoon led the research which also served as first author on this paper!
MIT’s system for desalinizing saltwater does not use pumps to force it through membranes, relying instead on gravity and an electrical shock wave to separate pure and salt molecules. The shockwave is created by constantly pushing apart pure water molecules with larger salt molecules through porous material containing electrodes and membranes – creating an endless source of freshwater which can be consumed directly without long-term sustainability issues associated with reverse osmosis or traditional desalination systems.
QuenchSea’s Portable Seawater Desalination System
QuenchSea is a handheld device designed to transform seawater into drinking water using only manual human power. Ideally suited for adventure travelers, sailors and those in developing nations who find themselves near the ocean but in desperate need of drinking water.
This device utilizes a hydraulic system, triple pre-filtration and a small reverse osmosis membrane to desalinate seawater into fresh drinking water using manual human power alone. At sea or on land, it instantly transforms seawater into clean fresh drinking water instantly with ultrafiltration and microfiltration systems to filter out suspended solids, bacteria, viruses, parasites and microplastics before forcing seawater under pressure through 0.01 micron membrane for reverse osmosis process – advanced activate carbon filters ensure its taste and odor remain pleasingly pleasant!
QuenchSea was designed for users without access to power, making its operation straightforward for those without electricity. A telescoping pole extends out from one side, with a footpad to support stability; pumping its lever, which resembles that of traditional irons, acts similarly to how water is extracted from wells; as soon as 60 bars of pressure build in its hydraulic system, its reverse osmosis membrane starts filtering salt out while leaving freshwater through silicone tubing into your vessel of choice.
QuenchSea watermaker takes about an hour to produce three liters, meeting World Health Organization standards for potability. Now available on Indiegogo for pre-ordering, QuenchSea will go into full production this fall and donate one unit of each full price QuenchSea sold directly to humanitarian clean water partners as part of its larger goal to alleviate global water scarcity.
If you would like more information about how the QuenchSea works and its capabilities, visit its Indiegogo campaign page.