Solar Distillation Project :)

SystemSystem Posts: 2,511 admin
I had just started recently a solar distillation project and hope to achieve maximum water distillation using solar power.

It's a combination of both solar heat and solar panel to work but I have not test the set up yet since it's incomplete at the moment.

I will modify it as time goes to whatever I can get hold of.

dsc01855.jpg
fresnel-lens-setup.gif

I will update my blog on this project and I welcome any suggestions on how I can improve on the setup :)

Thanks!!

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,614 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    I think using a large Fresnel lens is overkill, just a long trough, with water and a glass cover, and a drip ledge should work really good.
    examples:
    http://www.solaqua.com/solstilbas.html
    http://www.watercone.com/product.html
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    I build this because in Singapore where almost 90% of the 6 million people don't own landed property that have their own sunny garden means we can't be baking water under the hot sun for a long period of time.

    Most of us live in HDB Flats/Apartments or Condominium such as the photo below.
    456053720_bb479ff002.jpg?v=0

    This is why we need to have a fast solar distillation instead of a long term ones.

    For my own website that study future crisis, fresh distill water will be a very precious commodity in the near future when drinkable water becomes hard to find.

    ...a deadly event in a highly populated small country. :roll:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    Are you trying to distill salt/brackish water or just removing pathogens?

    Getting water above the 6th floor without building power is not going to happen (plus, the problems with diseases from unpressurized pipes). \

    So, you would need a consistent source of water (and space) to set everything up.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,614 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    You are missing the big picture, with a lens, you are limited to the 50sq inches it collects, and that turns into a smallish, high temp spot, that will need to be refocused every couple of minutes. The high temps lead to baked on deposits that are hard to remove from the "boiler". The system "losses" with high temps are much higher too, and you may find your overall efficiency is lower, than if you used a low temp still. The low temp stills are pretty easy to clean, and maintain. Your copper condenser, better make that with lead-free solder. it will likely be more useful as a moonshine still.

    And if you solve your water problem, there is still food to worry about a week later.


    _____
    Soylent Green - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    Note to all current and new users.

    The forum rules have been updated regarding posts that point to personal websites/blogs:
    Updated March 10 2009.

    1. No commercial ads. No solicitations or advertisements. No links to our competitors for items or products that we sell (If we don't carry it, no problem).
    1a. Links to sites with advertising, especially those with numerous Adsense or other paid advertisements of any type are subject to editing or deletion on a case by case basis. We are not part of your link farm for pay-per-click advertising sites.

    2. No Spam or political posts.
    SimonTay and others--

    Your subject matter is fine for discussion here... And the fact that you came back to continue the discussion is great.

    However, everyone please note, [edit: first time posters] posting links to personal websites with requests for discussion/postings off this forum will be edited/deleted and first time posters may be banned.

    Also links to sites that have lots of generic content (RSS News Feeds) and appear to be link farms (lots of ads)--will also be removed.

    New posters (and the old-timers too ;) ) are always very welcomed here... Please feel free to ask questions and participate on the discussions here on the Wind-Sun forums. :D

    Thank you,
    -Bill B. (Moderator)
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    Just an update to the above wording... First time posters that create threads with links to personal website with link farms---please avoid doing this.

    Others posters have posted links during discussions to personal and other forums/sites with useful information (Solar Guppy's, Other Power, Home Power Mag, and the nice link to a first time poster's Stockoneder's Xantrex XW installation with pictures, etc.).

    I am sorry, I am just trying to figure out the correct wording to encourage forum users to post relevant information/links/etc. at NAWS' forum.

    No large changes were intended (by me anyway)--just a clarification of what (I believe) would like to avoid.

    Sincerely and sorry for any confusion, I am sure Niel and WindSun will help keep me on track.
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    Thanks for your clarification on the matter on the link farms.

    My sites are not link farms as I write news reviews on individual news that is interesting to my research on energy crisis.

    I never RSS feed other people's websites to put in my blog....I read their blog or news and comment on their articles.

    My project is my own way to solve future crisis.

    Ans to mike90045: I had done another project on indoor aquaponic growth system to grow indoor food and it's my blog as well...(dare not post link so refer to my first post and click on 'my project')

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Simon Tay
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)
    BB. wrote: »
    Are you trying to distill salt/brackish water or just removing pathogens?

    Getting water above the 6th floor without building power is not going to happen (plus, the problems with diseases from unpressurized pipes). \

    So, you would need a consistent source of water (and space) to set everything up.

    -Bill

    The idea is to go downstairs to the field for 1 hour of extreme solar distillation and then go back up carrying a water dispenser box filled with freshly made distill water.

    Instant water I guess...but I know it's not going to be accepted easily...my version of the future is not a peaceful one...everyone will be begging outside for water, food, money....without jobs...world will be a nasty world.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)
    mike90045 wrote: »
    You are missing the big picture, with a lens, you are limited to the 50sq inches it collects, and that turns into a smallish, high temp spot, that will need to be refocused every couple of minutes. The high temps lead to baked on deposits that are hard to remove from the "boiler". The system "losses" with high temps are much higher too, and you may find your overall efficiency is lower, than if you used a low temp still. The low temp stills are pretty easy to clean, and maintain. Your copper condenser, better make that with lead-free solder. it will likely be more useful as a moonshine still.

    And if you solve your water problem, there is still food to worry about a week later.

    Soylent Green - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

    I will have to adjust the focal lens slightly further to enlarge the high temp spot to cover the whole flying pan to heat it to a point where water will be fried instantly.

    I will then drip the water in slowly.

    The steam created will be sucked into the pipe by a solar powered fan.

    As per previous post...food I had started indoor aquaponic growth system :cool:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    Again, the question about are you distilling to reduce salt content (and other non-filterable elements) or trying to make "safe from disease" drinking water...

    Single stage Distillation is a very energy intensive and not quick at all... Take a 1 meter square of noon time "sun"--that is about 1kW of heating. And you will get around 2-6 hours of "sun" per day (depending on season and weather).

    Looking at a typical home electric distiller as an equivalent... They seem to run around 800 watts for 6 gallons per day of water production (24 hour cycle) (these are not near as efficient as multi-stage distillers that are used to convert sea water to fresh water in desert areas)...

    That would set an upper limit of around (depending on season and weather):

    6 gallons * 2/24 = 1/2 gallons per day per 1 m^2 of panel area
    6 gallons * 6/24 = 1.5 gallons per day per 1 m^2 of panel area

    An adult probably needs between 1/4 and 1 gallon of water per day (depending on amount of work and weather conditions).

    On the other side of the technology wall--the simple flat panel solar distiller will produced ~1.5 - 3 gallons per day (winter-summer) from a 34in x 76in sheet of glass (in Mexico--presumably lots of sun)... Or in metric 1.67 sq. meters.

    1.5 gpd / 1.67 sqm = 0.9 gpd per 1 sqm per day (winter ~5 hours of sun)
    3 gpd / 1.67 sqm = 1.8 gpd per 1 sqm per day (summer ~7 hours of sun)

    Which is interesting--the "low tech" panel produces more water per day (very roughly) than the "high tech" electric unit from roughly the same energy source...

    I can see that making sense--the High Tech unit must "boil" the water into steam--and heat the entire tank of water up to boiling.

    The low tech unit only has to raise the water tank temperature high enough to have the water condense on the cooler glass plate (lots of surface area)... So less energy may be needed to distill in this type of unit.

    The downside with the low tech distiller is that you will still have problems with pathogins in the water and need some sort of clorine/silver/iodine/UV/etc. of disinfection stage. The high temperature unit would probably bypass this need (if the condenser can be kept free of mold, bacteria, and spores--may be an issue if moving air and steam through the condenser).

    I don't see a fresenl lens adding anything to your setup--other than requiring constant attention to track the motion of the sun.

    Here is a nice short paper on solar distillers--the estimate a yearly world average of 2.3 liters per sqmeter of glass (~5 hours of sun, 30% energy efficiency).

    In the end, you are looking at nearly a full day per sq.meter of glass to collect enough water for 1-2 persons.

    If you have other water available (rain water from roof, ground water, etc.) that is only "not safe to drink because of organic contamination--dirt, bacteria, viruses, etc.)--some sort of filter would work much better.

    Only if you are in an area with salt/brackish water would you need to desalinate (which requires several orders more energy to achieve than pump and filter).

    Since WWII, inflatable plastic solar distillers have been avialable for life rafts... Here is one that will produce produce 500 to 2000 ccs (1 to 4 pints) of water per day for ~$200 USD (not cheap--probably other less expensive units are available).

    That same company also has hand operated reverse osmosis desalinaters for ~$900 USD. This 4 person model will produce a bit less than 1 qt per hour (of, I assume, hard pumping--other models are available--including portable electric).

    Neat--I did not even know that a hand operated RO unit existed--thank you for making me look around. I learn something new every day. :cool:

    I would guess that, in the end, if you are looking for emergency survival--you will need to keep a low profile. The hand operated RO unit would probably meet that need the best of everything talked about here. I doubt that a portable RO system and the water it produces will be "cheap"--but in an emergency it may be the difference between fresh water or no water.

    For long-term ongoing water needs--probably need to find a place with fresh/filterable water.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)
    BB. wrote: »
    [note: no need to quote the entire post--Thank you -Bill]

    My location does have fresh water catchment but filled with lot's of fishes, insects and pests but it's filterable water.

    I am hoping to use the Fresnel lens as a natural UV light to 'clean' the water and instant steaming to create water.

    I understand your point of view, if the electricity goes out...I won't be able to carry all the stuff downstairs in a hurry...and unable to be there to monitor the Fresnel lens while it do it's distillation.

    My target is to have 30 minutes to 1 hour of intense distillation to have enough water to a family of 3 person to last at least 2 days just for drinking.

    If this works, it's just one of my many projects to make water...I do have a back up plant to use 12 VDC solar panel + thermoelectric peltier + super big heat sink to create DIY Condense Water (Air to Water) device.

    I do have ideas but need time and focus to do it...haha...now it's this solar fresnel lens for now.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    i seem to remember that uv light is partially blocked from passing through such things as glass, but i'm not sure of plastics and i would assume it to be similar although not the same.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    Distillation is probably not going to work the way you hope it would...

    You don't need distillation or Reverse Osmosis if your water is not salty or chemically polluted.

    Water filtering and, as now is being done in some equatorial regions, is a process called SODIS (Solar Disinfection)--after the water has been filtered for visible sediment:
    Solar disinfection, or SODIS, provides a low-cost, easily applicable means of ensuring clean, drinkable water. The technique of solar disinfection uses the sun’s radiation (specifically ultra-violet-A (UV-A) rays and heat) to destroy pathogenic micro-organisms present in the water. Its efficiency in killing disease-carrying bacteria depends on the water reaching a certain heat through exposure to sunlight. To achieve this, transparent plastic containers are filled with water and exposed to full sunlight for at least six hours.
    ...
    How it works
    SODIS is a simple and easily replicable method of providing enough clean drinking water for the household. For the method to work well, the exposure to sunlight should be at least six hours, or until the water reaches a temperature of 55°C.

    · Clear plastic bottles are used for SODIS application. These bottles should be filled with relatively clear water, since SODIS is not effective when the water turbidity is high. Water turbidity should not be more than 30 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units). The bottles should be transparent and clear, not coloured or discoloured, and not old or damaged. Plastic bottles are preferred since they let in more UV radiation than glass bottles, and are unbreakable, cheap and easily replaceable.
    · The water in these bottles should be exposed to full sunlight for six hours, or for two consecutive days during cloudy skies to ensure maximum benefit of the solar effect on pathogens. The water is ready for consumption immediately after adequate sunlight exposure. The water must be handled with clean hands so that there is no secondary contamination of disinfected water.
    ...

    Improving efficiency
    On a practical level, aeration can be achieved by stirring the untreated water vigorously before filling the SODIS containers or by shaking half-filled containers thoroughly and then filling them completely before sunlight exposure. In particular, stagnant water drawn from ponds, cisterns and possibly wells should be aerated to enhance the inactivation of micro-organisms by SODIS. Other ways to improve the efficiency of SODIS include:
    · Put black paint on half of the outer surface of the bottle and lay the bottle blackened-side downwards. This increases the rate of heating.
    · Place the bottles on a reflective surface, such as aluminium foil, as this can dramatically increase the rate of water heating.
    · Place bottles horizontally and not upright.
    · Ensure the bottles are full.
    · Always replace scratched and old bottles.

    There are other ways of breaking down organics in water using sunlight--and that involves circulating water in a glass tube in a parabolic array with titanium dioxide (the white pigment in paint).

    This are proposed processes for breaking down organics from spills (such as service station gasoline/petrol ground water contamination).

    While this may be very interesting for an environment scientist--it may not be what you want to try for emergency water purification at home.

    In the end, good quality filtration/disinfection equipment such as used for camping and water carriers is going to be much more effective than a solar distiller (the "camping model" is how I do my emergency planning).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 30,058 admin
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)

    Just an FYI on, what appears to be a well implemented water purifier, I am going order one for emergency / travel / camping use:
    LIFETIME Purifer!
    Removal Rate: 0.02 Micron Absolute!
    • Viral Purification: The first and thus far only portable filtration device to physically remove viruses. Which it does at a >5.5 log (99.9997%) rate exceeding EPA and NSF recommendations.
    • Biological Filtration: removes 7 log (99.99999%) of all bacteria like salmonella, cholera, and E. coli. And 6 log (99.9999%) of all Protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. You will find these removal rates to equal or exceed competitive options. EPA guidelines allow ten times more Protozoa left in the water than we allow.
    ...
    Bacteria Which Cause:

    • I.E.: Cholera, Botulism (Clostridum botulinum), Typhoid (Salmonella typhi), Amoebic Dysentery, E. Coli, Coliform Bacteria, Streptococcus, Salmonella
    Protozoan (Cyst):
    • I.E.: Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora
    Viruses:
    • I.E.: Hepatitis A (HAV), Poliovirus, Norwalk, Rotavirus, Adenovirus, Hepatitis E (HEV), Coxsackievirus, Echovirus, Reovirus, Astrovirus, Coronavirus (SARS)
    Not cheap at >~$200 USD... But high flow rate (1 liter every 2-3 minutes via gravity flow), no pumps required, easy to clean by back-flushing. Can also be used as a filter "straw" or in Camel Packs. For cloudy/muddy water, recommend a pre-filter of sand, cloth, etc. to reduce the need to back flush as often. No chemicals or replacement parts required.

    Was highly recommended by our local outdoors retailer.

    -Bill

    PS: I am not a purification expert and I do not have any financial ties to any of the vendors listed... Just interested in disaster preparation.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,614 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Distillation Project :)
    BB. wrote: »
    easy to clean by back-flushing.

    Just be sure you back flush with purified water, not raw water !!
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

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