2018: Sustainable System for Water Desalination

By Wenny Fernanda Ramirez Garcia and Lucero Gutierrez Hernandez in cooperation with Ankarstiftelsen.

Potable water is the most basic necessity for humans, yet according to a 2007 World Health Organization report, more than one billion people in the world lack the access to clean and safe drinking water. In underdeveloped communities such as La Guajira in Colombia, salted water is the only possible source for water consumption to a large portion of the population, representing high health risks. Drinking salted or brackish water is the leading cause of acute and chronic illnesses in third world countries. Many processes provide alternatives for water purification, the most efficient being those that utilize electricity yet they are unaffordable for the communities that need them and implicate high levels of carbon emissions. They may also stop functioning due to the use of electrical components and the adverse conditions of use they are under.

Final system design concept.

The resulting design proposal of this project is an initial function concept that aims to create a much-needed solution for potable water scarcity in La Guajira, which in addition to providing an estimated four liter of water per day for human consumption is also adequate for the location and culture of the users. The use of locally available materials and the use of only solar radiation as the source of power creates an independence of electricity, such characteristics of the product reducing the cost per unit but more importantly assuring the user acceptance and proper integration of the device in the community.

Exploded view of the design.