Capturing heat wasted in solar panels for use in distilling clean drinking water

Capturing heat wasted in solar panels for use in distilling clean drinking waterThe outlook of future PV farm: not just generating electricity, but also producing fresh water

…Testing of the modified solar panels showed them capable of purifying ordinary saltwater and seawater. In addition to removing dirt and other particles, the distillation process also removes dangerous heavy metals. Testing also showed the modified panels were able to purify up to three times as much as conventional solar stills. The researchers note also that the additions below the solar panels did not reduce their efficiency—they were still approximately 11 percent efficient.

Solar power with a free side of drinking water
Heat from a solar panel (upper surface) drives water vapor from seawater channels (dark blue) across porous membranes (orange) into freshwater receiver channels (light blue). Credit: Wenbin Wang 2019 

The researchers suggest their modified solar panels could be used in places where people have easy access to saltwater, such as the ocean, to provide clean drinking water. They further suggest that if future  included distillation capabilities, it is possible that they could produce up to 10 percent of the water consumed in the world. MORE


Device could bring both solar power and clean water to millions