Portable Solar Water Purification System for Public Use during Disaster Recovery

EPA Grant Number: SU836025
Title: Portable Solar Water Purification System for Public Use during Disaster Recovery
Investigators: Tang, Yan , Compere, Marc , Fugler, Mark
Current Investigators: Tang, Yan , White, Dean , Surpris, Glenn , Holmes, James , Coleman, Jared , Camp, Johnathon , Fennesy, Kyle , Compere, Marc , Fugler, Mark , McCalla, Neil , Pinto, Shavin , Wong, Yung
Institution: Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2011 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $12,845
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Air Quality , P3 Challenge Area - Safe and Sustainable Water Resources , P3 Awards , Sustainable and Healthy Communities


Our objective is to improve the existing design of a solar powered water purification system for use in post disaster response. We will design a foldable solar power unit and fit the entire system into a backpack for easy transport. The unit will be transportable by a single person and deployed in under 30 minutes using universally understood pictorial instructions. Post disaster rescue, relief, and recovery teams will be able to use this portable system to take standing, stagnant water and produce safe drinking water without relying on local power sources.


We will design a compact water purifier powered by foldable or roll-up solar panels and simplify the unit’s setup and operation by developing ready-to-assemble modules. This solar powered water purifier will greatly benefit people who are in need of safe potable water. This project will serve as an educational and economic opportunity for both students and communities. Students will improve their engineering skills and gain better understanding of the importance of sustainability. The manufacturing and distribution of this portable water purification system can have a positive impact on local economies by providing jobs and and promoting other related industries.

Expected Results:

The system will be engineered to be portable, have a flow rate of 2-4gpm, provide clean water for 750-1500 people per day, and will operate entirely from solar power. The unit will run directly from sunlight or, if deep cycle batteries are locally available, it will run for 72 hours continuously without sunlight. Water quality will be tested to ensure product performance and water safety. People without engineering or technical backgrounds will be invited to install and use the unit to demonstrate its user-friendliness.

Supplemental Keywords:

ultraviolet water purification, drinking water, solar energy, ultraviolet UV water purification, disaster relief,

Relevant Websites:

Phase 2 Abstract

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • P3 Phase II:

    Portable Solar Water Purification System for Public Use during Disaster Recovery  | 2013 Progress Report  | 2014 Progress Report  | Final Report