MIT scientists use solar tech to remove salt from water

Solar technologies open the doors to new possibilities.

From renewable and affordable energy solutions for your home or business to solar storage capacity, solar innovation is making life simpler and more efficient around the world.

Now, scientists are learning about applications to harness solar energy to provide daily drinking water.

A prototype solar-powered water desalination system has been developed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which can achieve a very high solar-to-vapor efficiency through a multi-state evaporation process.

The approach removes the electricity component and replaces it with a method that has been proven effective even on large-scale applications. Rather than using photovoltaics for power, the method relies on solar absorption techniques to gather heat and evaporate saltwater.

The prototype at MIT delivered clean water at a rate of nearly six liters per hour per square meter of the solar collection area. This more than doubles a previous record for water production of this kind.

The device is described in a paper by MIT and will one day meet commercial use, which will be especially useful in regions of the world that have limited infrastructure, but no shortage of saltwater and sun.

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