New Technology Generates Safe Water Faster Than Ever Before

Sunny Clean Water developed a technology that can harness the power of the sun during water evaporation and create clean and cheap water

Jun 3, 2018

(Qiaoqiang Gan, SUNY Buffalo)

New innovations are making it increasingly easier to produce clean energy or create new resources without damaging the environment. One of the latest exciting developments? A highly effective system for generating clean water using sunlight.

Researchers are now using a method that entails laying black, carbon soaked paper into a triangle and using it as a tool to absorb and vaporize water.

Qiaoqiang Gan, the l
ead researcher and associate professor of electrical engineering at the University at the Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said that their method wastes less energy and is extremely efficient. “Our technique is able to produce drinking water at a faster pace than is theoretically calculated under natural sunlight,” he said.

What’s more is that their innovation is affordable and accessible for countries or regions in need of clean water. This strategy can produce 10-20 liters every day and enable thousands of deserving civilians to access safe, drinkable water.

The researchers took technology that has been around for years - devices that utilize the sun to evaporate water and rid it of harmful bacteria, salt, and dirt, cool the water vapor until it turns back into a liquid - and made the process much faster.

They found that creating an “upside-down ‘V’ shape, like the roof of a birdhouse” with the carbon-soaked water allows the carbon to absorb the energy, turning it into heat until it evaporates.

Gan added that their goal was to find a cheaper, more efficient way to produce this precious resource. “Most groups working on solar evaporation technologies are trying to develop advanced materials, such as metallic plasmonic and carbon-based nanomaterials,” Gan says.

“We focused on using extremely low-cost materials and were still able to realize record-breaking performance.” The researchers’ startup Sunny Clean Water helps bring the resource to people around the world who are most in need of safe water and can finally access a basic human right everyone deserves.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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