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Israel’s SunDwater Purifies Water Using Solar Power

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Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

As reported in The Jerusalem Post:

Remote villages around the world that lack access to both electricity and potable water may soon be able to quench their thirst, with the development of an Israeli solar powered water distillation system.

The Jerusalem-based SunDwater, whose standalone system harnesses heat through concentrated solar power, now has two fully operational pre-production models purifying water in the Arava Desert.

The system works by pumping any source of contaminated water through one pipe into the top of a parabolic dish, which follows the sun throughout the day. The rays that hit the dish are then reflected back onto a water boiler that sits in the dish’s center, SunDwater’s CEO Zimels explained.

As the boiler heats up the contaminated source, the water evaporates, leaving the pollutants behind.  Pushed out of the boiler with pressure, but remaining in a closed system, the vapor is then recondensed back into cleaner water, according to Zimels.

All in all, depending on the temperature, the sun’s reflection and the water source, the $16,000 system is able to generate about 300-400 liters of water daily, he said.  A control console manages the whole process, collecting data, providing remote access, checking contaminant levels and performing automatic cleaning, Zimels added.

While there are other companies marketing solar powered purification systems, Zimels said that what makes SunDwater stand apart from these firms is the technology’s ability to distill – rather than simply desalinate – all kinds of contaminated water. In addition, the other systems typically use solar panels to generate electricity and charge batteries to run the process, he added.

“We basically take water and heat it up by solar power – we generate very little electricity for our needs, just for the pump and the computer,” he said. “Other than that, the system is fully based on the heat and not the electricity.”

After launching an initial model in Haifa, SunDwater established an official “alpha” version of the system in Kfar Adumim, near the Dead Sea, about three years ago. The company then launched a third rendition of the facility near Ben Gurion Airport, before heading to the Arava Desert to unveil today’s full-scale pre-production systems.

The first of the two pre-production systems began running about five to six months ago at the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative’s Off-Grid Village at Kibbutz Ketura, where the company is testing the technology in conjunction with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and a student from Ben Gurion University.  SunDwater also established a second such system at the nearby Kibbutz Samar about two months ago, Zimels said.

SunDwater’s system presents a sustainable and cost-effective solution for water-scarce areas in remote parts of Australia.

If you are interested in visiting the Eilat region to see clean-energy beta sites and attend the Eilat-Eilot renewable energy conference in November, please contact our office at Sydney@israeltrade.gov.il.