INEGI solar powered desalination prototype almost ready

Renewables

Portugal – In order to convert seawater into potable water and help the nation overcome its current water crisis, a team of researchers from the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (INEGI) in Porto developed a desalination system that is powered by solar thermal energy.

The prototype of the technology, which was disclosed in February, is almost complete, according to researcher Szabolcs Varga, but data is still being gathered to demonstrate its viability. Despite delays brought on by a shortage of raw materials and an increase in inflation, tests with this pilot should be finished in the summer of 2023.

Recycling water

Electronic desalination equipment, intended for small-scale applications, is at risk. It converts salt water into drinking water with a high enough quality for human use using thermal vapor compression technology and solar thermal energy. According to data published by INEGI, the solar thermal collector and the desalination subsystem are two systems that operate together and make it feasible to recycle water.

Through Compete 2020, the European Union and the Foundation for Science and Technology collaborated to develop the technology known as “Small Soldes” at INEGI. According to Szabolcs Varga, the technology should be TRL (Technological Readiness Level) 6-7 by the second part of the next year, with a technology ready for commercialization equating to a TRL of at least 9.

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