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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Solar powered desalination system

  • Author(s): Mateo, Tiffany Alisa
  • et al.
Abstract

With the increasing need for fresh water sources, especially in California with its "Water Crisis" coupled with the global "Energy Crisis" there is rising desire for fresh water production through renewable means. A study was conducted to evaluate the most efficient design for a solar powered desalination system. Two basic design types were considered. The first design type is using photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells to produce hydrogen, which would then be used to produce thermal energy to desalinate by distillation. The second design type is using photovoltaics (PV) to produce electrical energy to desalinate by membrane. The study concluded that a PV- reverse osmosis (RO) system would be the most energy and space efficient. An RO system was assembled and tested to show feasibility. Future work includes powering the RO system using PV and calculating the system efficiency. Focusing on emergency drinking water applications, a single element design was proposed. This single element design is meant for a compact, portable solar powered desalination system

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