Brazilian Student Creates Solar-powered Water Treatment System
An electrical engineering student from Instituto Federal de Goiás, a university in Brazil’s heartland, invented a solar power system to treat water that does not require electricity, does not emit CO2 and absorbs material that can damage the environment. The low-cost device can be used by low income communities who do not have access to basic sanitation.
20 year-old Leonardo Lira used five plywood planks covered in foil to make a lid-less box of one square meter with open and angled walls. The device is a kind of concentrator that receives sunlight.
The student placed four, two-liter PET bottles inside the box which hold water for treatment between three and six hours. The water can reach a temperature of 70ºC (water boils at 100ºC) and, once heated, it is cleared of bacteria, viruses and substances that can be harmful to human health.
Leonardo tested three samples of water collected from homes that do not received trreated water. The material was pre-analyzed by Saneamento de Goiás S/A (Goiás State’s sanitation company), which described the impurities and quantified in a table the presence of fecal coliforms and rotavirus. These were eliminated after three hours in the concentrator. The water could then be drunk after cooling in a jar.
“Our focus was to spend as little energy as possible without boiling the water, without gas and without emissions”, said the future engineer at Expotec, a technology fair that took place in Goiânia, the capital of Goiás, between July 11 and 15.