As competition for freshwater resources intensifies across the world, the prospect of using technology to tackle the problem is a tempting solution. Still, water desalination is one potential solution to the need for alternative sources of freshwater, current procedures are tremendously expensive and energy-intensive.
In a bid to find a more efficient approach, scientists in Melbourne have put forward one rather promising solution – developing a new kind of system that heats up and purifies water using only the power of the Sun. Like other researchers around the globe seeking to make water desalination as energy-efficient as possible, the scientists from Australia’s Monash University have turned to sunlight to try and lighten the load, this time directing it toward what is known as a solar steam generator.
Essentially, these devices concentrate sunlight onto a body of water, heating it up and causing it to evaporate. The resulting steam can then be used to drive turbines that produce electricity in concentrated solar power plants, perhaps sterilize medical equipment cheaply for the developing world, or simply to separate salt from water.