Italian company MegaCell Engineering has launched a small scale process called Smart Solar Desalination (SSD) that purifies water using reverse osmosis (RO) technology.
Designed to be used “off-grid”, the 48 m3/hour capacity system will use photovoltaic (PV) modules installed on a single-axis tracker.
The firm said this is “the best option especially for desert-areas and with dust and sand deposition on the PV module surfaces”.
With an international patent pending, a fact sheet by the Italian company claims that the SSD requires 87% less energy than desalination plants, from “2.98 kWh/m3 to 0.37 kWh/m3”.
MegaCell said: “The winning point is the possibility to store water processed instead of energy into batteries. In the smart RO, the sun directly goes in the desalination process without storage in batteries. The big tank of desalted water has the double scope to optimize the renewable energy generation process and to guarantee the water availability. The role of the back-up system is not to store energy, but optimize all the energy not used by the Smart Reverse Osmosis.”
This is not the first time small scale, solar powered water filtration systems have been designed. In Senegal, Pall delivered solar-powered RO systems to provide water for more than 3000 people (see WWi story).
The current challenge has been to scale up the pairing of solar energy and desalination technology, from mobile units to full scale plants producing thousands of cubic metres per day.
Earlier this week, Spanish firm Abengoa joined forces with newly formed Advanced Water Technologies to develop a large scale solar-desalination project in Saudi Arabia (see WWi story).
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