New solar technology promises safe drinking water in a compact off-grid footprint

Promo photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

More than 18,000 desalination plants operate in over 150 countries, but these aren’t helping the estimated 1 billion people who lack access to safe drinking water, or the 4 billion who suffer water scarcity at least one month per year.

Many desalination plants use distillation processes, which require heating water to boiling temperature and harvesting the purified water vapors, or reverse osmosis, in which strong pumps suck energy to pressurize … [more…]