Solar Pasteurizer with Integral Heat Exchanger for Treating Water in Rural Areas

EPA Grant Number: SU833185
Title: Solar Pasteurizer with Integral Heat Exchanger for Treating Water in Rural Areas
Investigators: Stevens, Robert , Bailey, Margaret , Thorn, Brian
Current Investigators: Stevens, Robert , Bailey, Margaret , Carrano, Andres , Thorn, Brian
Institution: Rochester Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 1, 2007 through December 31, 2008
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation there are currently 1.1 billion people without access to safe water on the planet. Every year more than five million people die from the lack of safe water and improper sanitation. Children are the primary victims, therefore cutting short their opportunity to grow-up and be productive and contributing citizens in their communities. Although there has been significant progress over the past decades to improve access to safe water in urban areas, many existing water treatment technologies are not suitable for rural applications where populations are more dispersed and electrical power supply is unpredictable or nonexistent. A range of alternative water technologies are required to fully address the needs of rural areas. The objective of this project is for a multidisciplinary capstone team to design, build, and test a novel solar pasteurizer as part of RIT’s Multidisciplinary Design Experience. Solar pasteurization, as a means of treating water in remote rural areas without electrical power, is based on the principle of using solar energy to thermally kill pathogenic protozoan, bacteria and viruses at temperatures below the boiling point. Solar pasteurization is potentially well suited for home, school, and small health clinic applications. Pasteurization has the unique advantage over other water treatment technologies in that it does not require scarce fuel wood, a source of chlorine, high maintenance, or specialized imported system components. Early solar pasteurization technologies were based on batch systems that had marginal throughput. Higher production rates can be obtained by allowing continual flow through the system using simple flow control devices and recovering the heat from the treated water. Large flow through systems with separate off the shelf solar collection and heat exchanger components have been developed, but are expensive. The novel approach taken in this project is to integrate the solar collection and heat exchanger into a single unit using materials and fabrication techniques readily available in the developing world. This approach has the potential to create a cottage industry producing water treatment technologies which will improve the health of rural populations. The multidisciplinary design team will 1) review the available pasteurizer literature, 2) define appropriate design specifications, 3) review the constraints imposed by resource availability in developing countries, 3) develop a series of integrated solar pasteurizer concepts, 4) select a design concept to develop further based on appropriate criteria (effectiveness, costs, manufacturability, etc), 5) present the design to a technical review panel and partners in Venezuela and at RIT, 6) build a prototype, and 7) conduct preliminary performance testing. This process will expose students to a multidisciplinary design process with a focus on social and environmental issues.

Supplemental Keywords:

drinking water, pathogens, viruses, bacteria, innovative technology, renewable, disinfection, engineering, developing countries, solar, children,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, solar pasteurization, sustainable development, solar water treatment, drinking water, ecological design, environmental sustainability, heat exchanger, energy efficiency, solar energy

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2008
  • Final Report