Hi-tech water desalination system developed in Mexico

The University of Colima has developed a desalination prototype to fight drinking water shortage

Hi-tech water desalination system developed in Mexico
Unlike other desalination processes that use electrical energy or burning fossil fuels, the new system works with renewable energy and uses reverse osmosis - Photo: Francois Lenoir/Reuters
English 24/01/2019 15:08 Notimex Mexico City Conacyt Actualizada 15:25

Members of the University of Colima have developed an innovative desalination system that uses sea energy to pressurize water and prevent drinking water shortage in areas affected by climate events.

Manuel Gerardo Verduzco Zapata, a research professor at the University of Colima and head of the Marine Hydraulics Laboratory at the Faculty of Marine Sciences, explained that the project was aimed at fighting drinking water shortage.

The idea, he said, is to produce small amounts of drinkable water for isolated regions and communities with infrastructure problems, or that have been affected by extreme weather events.

Unlike other desalination processes that use electrical energy or burning fossil fuels, the new system works with renewable energy and uses reverse osmosis; i.e., it moves a fluid with high salt content into a container where pressure is applied to capture the salts in some membranes and purify the water.

For this process, waves are meant to pressurize the water by means of a hydraulic piston gripped by a buoy that is two meters in diameter and 80 centimeters high, explained Verduzco Zapata in a statement released by the university.

"In the first stage, our model will supply at least 200 gallons, which represents about 800 liters of drinking water per day. It's not much, but the idea is to scale the project should it prove successful," he said.

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Photo: Taken from Conacyt's official website

The device is ready for its test phase at sea, which was scheduled for next month.

According to the researcher, the device will be tested in the Ventanas Bay, near Manzanillo, where there is a wave height of between two and three meters with a depth of 20 meters.

Students, research professors and academic bodies have participated in the development of this project, which started in 2017 with support from the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) in the category of National Problems, with an amount of one and a half million pesos.
 

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