Solar Desalinator

★ Shortlisted for 2019 Lexus Design Awards

Access to clean water is one of the biggest issues facing the human race - we have an abundance of water but most of it is unsuitable for drinking. This design looks at a way we can use the power of the sun to extract clean water from unclean water by improving on the common solar still to make it more efficient and more portable.

Researchers have discovered that the efficiency of a still can be doubled by reducing the water being evaporated to a thin layer. This design incorporates this idea by using inflated chambers to provide buoyancy and insulation while interweaving black paper to wick the water up from the larger body of water below onto the evaporation surface above creating the thin layer required for efficiency. An origami-inspired collapsible dome is then used to collect the clean, evaporated water and channel it away for drinking. With an inflatable base and a collection dome that folds flat, this design can be stored or transported easily making it perfect for emergency use on liferafts or for disaster relief efforts.