DESOLENATOR — WATER FROM SUNSHINE

“Desolenator is extremely proud and thankful to all those who voted for us. We believe that the global water crisis is a serious issue, and winning recognition from a leading publication offers great support to our efforts. We will surely return to share our progress with readers over the coming years.”

William Janssen, Desolenator, London, UK

The Desolenator is a water-purification technology that decontaminates water from any source using only solar energy. The technology is a very affordable ($0.005/L) “at-source” method of water purification. It offers a combination of features and capabilities that makes it extremely well suited for household use. It is GSM-mobile enabled and is data-driven through sensors, enabling service through micro mobile payment. It is eco-friendly, has a lifespan of up to 20 years, doesn’t require filters/ membranes, doesn’t drain the main’s electricity, and doesn’t expel toxic waste into the ocean. The long-term goal is to prevent the worsening of the water crisis.

The Desolenator merges photovoltaic (PV) and thermal energy with a heat exchanger to drastically increase the yield of clean drinking water produced per square meter of solar panel surface. This technology transforms some of the existing bottlenecks associated with PV solar, turning these weaknesses into strengths in order to maximize the potential energy hitting the surface area of the system. Traditional photovoltaics convert 15-20% of the energy that hits them into electrical energy, with the rest lost as heat. The Desolenator uses all of this heat and traps it through insulation to heat the water. It then uses electrical energy to boil the water, and a heat exchange mechanism to increase throughput and yield.

The system comprises high-performance solar panels, an embedded boiler and pump, and a remote monitoring system. It is made of food-grade materials, and is ready for use anywhere. Desolenator could help solve the global water crisis in locations such as California, Africa, and India by providing healthy, clean, and fresh drinking water in an affordable and sustainable way.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/sustainable_winner2016 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

The SunSaluter

Eden Full Goh, Phil Hannam, Rachel Han, Victor Liu, Victoria Alleyne, Anuradha Dhavala, Serena Xu, Andie Goh, Sambit Sasmal, Santosh Ku. Jha, and Promise Daniel Chidothe, SunSaluter, New York, NY

The SunSaluter enables a solar panel to rotate and follow the Sun throughout the day, boosting efficiency by 40%. It employs a simple water clock to control the flow of water from a container suspended from the solar panel. As the water empties and one side gets lighter, the panel slowly rotates.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/sunsaluter 

Highly Effective Personal Water Filters Using Nanotechnology for Worldwide Markets

Corinne Clinch, Uriel Eisen, Kyle Henson, Jay Kuchta, and Annie Black, Rorus Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

This personal water-purification system is a nanotechnology-powered, gravity-fed, multi-layered design. While most filters use tiny holes to catch and remove pathogens, the Rorus filter media physically attracts contaminants like a magnet. As a result, these filters have 100x larger filter pores and therefore exhibit faster flow.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/water 

Fluid-Driven Emergency Lighting

Jung Huang Liao, Industrial Tech. Research Institute, Chutung, Hsinchu, Hsinchu Hsien, Taiwan

This emergency lighting combines a water turbine micro-generator with an LED light engine to form the Fluid-Driven Nozzle Light (FDNL) and Fluid-Driven Sprinkler Light (FDSL). At fire sites, they provide illumination and indication without outside electricity.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/fluidlight 

UMotor — Over-Expanded Engine

Jorge Martins, Tiago Costa, Helio Silva, and Guilherme Capela, Universidade do Minho, Guimaraes, Braga, Portugal

The UMotor aims to change the way small engines attain high efficiency. It uses an innovative crankshaft that enables the over-expansion of the exhaust gases. An expansion/compression ratio of 2:1 means that most of the enthalpy of the burned gases can be converted into useful work.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/umotor 


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.