Purifying Water During Natural Disasters




Introduction: Purifying Water During Natural Disasters

About: Physicist, Serial Inventor, Social Entrepreneur, Mentor

The design idea is to create an environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable solution to providing clean and drinkable water during a natural disaster. "El Huaico" is a solar evaporator currently designed to help the rural population affected by El Niño Phenomen 2017 in Peru.

It has the flexibility to be used with any container, is durable, easy-to-use and maintain. It consists of easy to assemble modules: plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, flexible tubes, strings, electric copper wires.

Its design allows solar evaporation of dirty/raw water and condensation of clean/distilled water, stored in plastic bottles filled with copper wires.

Its a simple process, the sun heat the water to the point where it evaporates then the water vapor is captured and cooled, allowing it to condense back to water. Copper generates free-radical ions which quickly kill microbial pathogens.

Conventional water-treatment methods such as chlorination, filtration and energy-intensive (UV, Reverse Osmosis) are impractical in rural areas, urban slums and natural disasters scenarios.

Huaico is a Peruvian term that refers to a massive flood caused by torrential rains during extreme weather events.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Key points:

- Real natural disaster scenario

- Limited sources of materials and tools

- No drinkable water

- Best source of fresh water is rain

- Rivers and lakes with very high turbidity levels

- Available sources of energy: sunlight, wind, human

- No telecommunications or very limited

- No transportation, most freeways and bridges destroyed or with severe damages

- Electric boiling: No electric power and electric grids destroyed or with severe damages

- Gas or Oil boiling: gas and oil unavailable

- Chlorine and pills: Very limited distributions and in most areas unavailable

Selected available materials and tools:

- 2 Plastic Water Bottles

- 1 Cardboard Box (Thermal Insulator)

- 1 Flexible Tube (~1 - 2 cm diameter)

- 1 Electric Copper Wire (~40cm long) (Antibacterial)

- 1 String

- Knife or Cutter

Step 2: Assembling

Easy and simple steps

Step 3: Testing: El Niño Phenomen 2017 in Peru

Huaico is used in a real natural disaster scenario!

Check this section for further news and improvements

Water sources:

- Rain water

- Silo/Tank water

- River water

Work in progress:

- Version 2.0

- Emergency Kit


Emergency caused by heavy rains, overflowing rivers, landslides and floods battering Peru has so far left 159,283 victims, National Emergency Operations Center's (COEN) latest report revealed on Friday 4/7/2017.

Likewise, natural disasters have affected close to one million people (973,977).

Damaged homes stand at 212,966.

Death toll remains at 106, according to COEN's document.

Source: https://www.mindef.gob.pe/informacion/documentos/...

Step 4: Version 2.0

- New cardboard enclosure

- Flexible tube diameter 1cm to 2cm

- Inclination 45 degrees

- Optional: Reflective surface (Aluminium foil)

- Optional: Painting the bottle with black paint.

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    5 years ago

    I would love to set this up as a classroom demonstration but I need a few more bits of instruction. How is the copper wire attached? Just keep one bottle warmer than the other? I assume the 'dirty' water is the warm one. If we set up a few variations, students could gather data on what makes it more efficient. How do you test to be sure the water is safe--I know in an emergency situation, if you are seriously dehydrated you would probably just risk it but let's say you are not that desperate yet. Can you test it easily/quickly?


    5 years ago

    I wonder if it would be better to use glass bottles? (and darker as stated by previous). If you were planning on making a permanent set up, glass should stand up better to ware and would be easier to clean.

    If the water is dirty to start, i would anticipate growth on at least the evaporator.


    5 years ago

    How long to distill 1 litre of water in full sun?

    I reckon the efficiency can be improved by:

    - using a wider tube between the two bottles - easier for the vapours to move between the warm point and the cold one

    - painting the evaporator bottle black or wrapping it tight in a black/dark foil/cloth.

    In regards with the second point - the difference between saturating water vapour pressure between 20C (17.5 torr) and 30C (31.8 torr) suggest that, everything being equal, the evaporator will be almost twice as efficient at 30C than at 20C. See http://www.wiredchemist.com/chemistry/data/vapor-...

    It means that every degree of temperature, higher on the evaporator and/or lower on the condenser, have quite a non-negligible impact on the efficiency.