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4 publications for this project

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Concentrated Solar Distillation as a Means to Purify Saline/Brackish Water

EPA Grant Number: SU834294
Title: Concentrated Solar Distillation as a Means to Purify Saline/Brackish Water
Investigators: Matsumoto, Mark , Javadinajjar, Parham , Johnson, John , Salinas, Christopher , Tam, Kawai , West, Elizha
Current Investigators: Matsumoto, Mark , Chen, Alexander , Chen, Luke , Chen, Wesley , Johnson, John , Salinas, Christopher , Tam, Kawai , West, Elizha
Institution: University of California - Riverside
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2009 through August 14, 2010
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2009)
Research Category: Nanotechnology , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Water



Solar energy can be used in producing desalinated water. However, the process is slow and requires large solar collection areas to desalinate a relatively small amount of water. Currently solar distillation is viable for small-scale use generally in a batch process form. By concentrating the solar energy via a Fresnel lens we are seeking to develop a more cost effective and efficient desalination/treatment method for potable water production. We believe that by concentrating solar energy, a significant increase in efficiency can be achieved, substantially increasing production rate and reducing per unit volume cost of production.


Our approach is to study basic design parameters of a distillation apparatus using a renewable energy source. We are comparing our design to the basin-solar stills used in the El Paso Solar Energy Association (EPSEA) study because the stills used represent the simplest design and lowest cost available. These stills produced approximately 4 gallons/day of distilled water. Also important to consider is that basin-stills do not insulate against heat loss. This is because a basin still requires a large window through which to input heat. A benefit of our design is that the boiler can be insulated at all points except for a small portion left open to receive the focused sunlight. Our design calls for a modest increase in complexity. This is mainly due to having multiple components (separate solar collector, boiler, and condenser). The trade off is that for a modest increase in complexity can we achieve a substantial increase in productivity.

Expected Results:

We expect that our design will achieve a greater potable water production rate than that of the solar basin still. We also expect that our design will be able to treat various types of un-drinkable water: from brackish all the way to sea water. Through our research and experiments, we intend to illustrate that using a Fresnel lens to concentrate solar energy for the purpose of distillation is a viable and implementable resource with the capabilities of supplying small, rural communities that have limited access to drinking water with potable water.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 4 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Solar distillation, Fresnel lens, renewable energy, drinkable water, concentrated solar energy, solar collector, basin solar still,

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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