Recently, a relatively small process system developed originally to desalinate water at low pressure and temperature was introduced to the public via the internet. This new machine could be a major breakthrough in providing fresh water to people, especially in underdeveloped countries.
Before this system – as yet unnamed and available for general sales – there were two methods widely used for de-salting sea water in any scale; evaporation and reverse osmosis. Both of these processes work well but each has disadvantages. Until now, neither complemented the other in one system.
Evaporation can be slow and requires water vapor be directed into a cooler area where condensation occurs and the droplets collected. The sun is able to supply all the energy needed and at the smallest scale, a plastic sheet and a cup can recover enough fresh water to allow a person to survive. In large scale, acres of salt can be recovered from ponds but fresh water is usually sacrificed to the atmosphere. To speed up the process temperature must be increased, and a closed system is needed requiring energy and a balance of values between the costs of the energy and the value of the fresh water.
Reverse osmosis systems can produce a continuous and almost immediate flow but require fairly expensive high tech filters which act much like membranes or cellular walls. The key to the systems is a difference in pressure between the two sides of the filter. The systems work with vacuum or high pressure or a combination of both. But this pressure difference comes at the cost of energy. Large systems can supply the water needs of coastal communities but are usually accompanied by their own power generating stations. On smaller boats, owners are often forced to install a more powerful generator in order to have the start-up power for r/o compressors. Yachts on extended cruises often stock extra filters along with special high pressure hoses in case of an at-sea accident.
The innovative new system combines evaporation, separation, condensation, and recovery with repeated recirculation to produce drinking water from almost any polluted source. In its initial public demonstrations, the new system produced fresh water for drinking from oily, dirty bilge water, a busy ocean shipping port, a storm water collection pond, and a bayou canal.
Add to the impressive performance the fact that the system can operate with almost no need for its own energy source. It can be driven entirely with waste heat energy such as heated engine cooling fluid being returned to a radiator. The system thereby actually increases the efficiency of the host engine. Special off-the-shelf materials hold down costs and eliminate the need for replacement filters. The result is operation costs of nearly zero.
Operational conditions seem nearly unlimited. If attached to any appropriate liquid cooled engine, or a solar power system, this processor will – for example – desalinate water at the North Pole or produce clean drinking water from a muddy watering hole in equatorial Africa.
It has proven itself as an affordable desalination system; it has produced fresh water while separating out mild acids, detergents, oily discharge, and most solvents. A new machine that turns dirty water into fresh water could be a major breakthrough and could save thousands of lives around the world.
By: Marcus Murray