Cleaner water through solar power

While conventional desalination systems in India use reverse-osmosis, Tata Center researchers are exploring a different option — one that may finally work at village-scale.

This article from MIT News appeared in Eco-Business.

A majority of India’s groundwater is salty, making it unpleasant to drink and potentially harmful to long-term health. Without a reliable, energy-efficient way to desalinate the water, many people are forced to either use the water as-is, or turn to dirtier, more hazardous sources of fresh water.

Now, Tata Fellow Natasha Wright and Professor Amos Winter are investigating a desalination system using solar power and electrodialysis that could be installed, maintained, and powered at village scale in India.

Winter describes the “detective work” needed to understand this, and many other, problems facing India and the developing world, where resources are severely constrained. The factors involved include everything from economic viability to cultural acceptability.

In the end, Wright and Winter believe that this system, when installed in a village, could provide water to meet the needs of between 2000 and 5000 people. Such a system, if made widely available, could go a long way toward meeting India’s fresh water needs.

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