A new type of solar device is developed by the researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. This device uses solar energy not only to generate electricity but also to purify water.
The problem dealt with by the technology in the Indian Context.
Water is consumed to generate electricity and electricity is consumed to purify the water. In India, 85% of the electricity is generated with the use of fossil fuel like coal and natural gas or nuclear plant. This consumes a huge amount of freshwater for cooling purposes. And In spite of the Government’s effort to use clean energy resources, the consumption of water to generate electricity is going to increase day by day, due to the increasing demand for electricity. This may lead to overuse of natural water resources. The problem of high water scarcity may arise in the future because India is also facing extreme weather condition and irregular rainfall.
The new device invented solves this problem to a great extent, especially in the agricultural sector and small towns near coastal areas where pure water and electricity both are required.
About the Technology Used
Traditionally, 10-20% of the sunlight that heats the photovoltaic (Solar) panel becomes power and remaining is treated as waste heat. In this newly invented device, they attached the three-stage membrane distillation(Purifying) unit to the back of the photovoltaic (PV) panel. The waste heat from photovoltaic panel warms the water which passes through membrane setup beneath the PV panel and during the process purifies the water. The device will generate electricity at an efficiency of 11% at par with normal solar panel and will produce pure water 3 times more than traditional solar stills
However, there are many changes required to be made to make this device commercially viable.
But once it is successfully launched, it can meet the demand for drinking water at small to medium scale and will help in achieving sustainable development.
Read the research in detail in Nature Communication journal