Bill Zebuhr, Scott Newquist, David Dussault,
E. Andrew Condon, Steven Sahagian,
Nicholas Wong, Michael Easton,
William Burie, Charles Blanchard,
and Nicole Sandoval
Aquaback Technologies, Tewksbury, MA
A highly efficient, low-cost, lowmaintenance, compact, modular vapor compression distiller is designed to be the water processing module in a wide variety of water processing systems to clean incoming water or reclaim waste water. The systems will enable recycling of most water for any use, including potable water, at a lower overall cost than any other technology or combinations of technologies, addressing water supply and disposal problems worldwide. Distillation provides the highest-purity water in a single operation, but until now, distillers have been too expensive to make or operate to be practical. Aquaback has optimized every aspect of distillation using the known vapor compression method to recycle over 99% of the heat of vaporization using a mass-manufactured, self-cleaning design.
The basic module design is sized for a single household, but is scalable by combining individual modules in arrays for larger- capacity systems applicable to industrial and commercial wastewater reuse or purification systems. The combination of low direct energy consumption and the absence of consumable filters and chemicals minimizes environmental impact.
The operating temperature is the boiling point of water, so the system is designed fundamentally to conserve heat. It is enclosed in a vacuum insulation shell that loses less than 20 Watts of power at standby, and enables an external temperature that is only a few degrees above ambient. The compressor is a high-speed turbo machine, with a single moving part, running on water bearings. It consumes less than 400W while producing 20 gallons per hour of distillate from a wide variety of influents, including sewage.
Large markets will include distributed household wastewater treatment systems that can offer full recycling and zero discharge if desired, industrial wastewater treatment, and point-of-entry water systems.
For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/sustainablewinner
Solar Boiler Electrical Generator and Heat Machine
Matthew Davis, Oak Ridge, TN
By focusing sunlight on a linear boiler (with a parabolic trough or linear fresnel reflector), making steam, and putting that through an efficient steam turbine connected to a permanent magnet alternator and a condensing thermal storage tank, it is possible to make heat, hot water, and electricity at higher efficiencies and lower cost than using photovoltaics. This design utilizes an analog tracking system that requires no electricity, uses solar energy to create movement, and operates on fluid logic.
The system is made from common materials, and can be built by almost anyone from residential power consumers to off-grid, third-world consumers. Further iterations will be useful for cooling and heating of containers, as well as interplanetary applications.
For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/solarboiler
Solar Ice Maker
Duilio Guetti, Montesilvano, Pescara, Italy
The Solar Ice Maker is a refrigerator for the storage of vaccines that is completely autonomous and independent from electricity.
The Solar Ice Maker consists of a solar collector connected to an evaporator and a condenser. The system uses the properties of some solid materials (adsorbent materials) to fix on its surface water vapor, methanol, or ethanol vapor. The system operates alternating a useful night stage, in which the working fluid evaporates to give the cooling effect, to a daytime stage where the adsorbent is regenerated by solar radiation. The minimum ice production of the machine is about 7.5 kg, which is used as a cold storage inside the unit. The unit does not require electricity, skilled operators, or maintenance.
For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/icemaker