A team from MIT believes its new water purification system could bring clean water to remote Indian villages using solar power.
In a recent report, coauthors Amos Winter SM ’05, PhD ’11 and Natasha Wright SM ’14, detail a method for removing contaminants and excess salt from groundwater that doesn’t need electricity. Approximately 60% of villages in India rely on groundwater as a source of drinking water. Its salty taste is unpalatable, and chemical contamination poses health issues. The lack of reliable electricity sources compound the problem and render conventional reverse-osmosis systems ineffective.
The solar-powered electrodialysis system proposed by Winter and Wright could provide enough water to supply a village of 2,000 to 5,000 people. After extensive interviews with five villages in the Maharashtra State, the duo is looking forward to piloting their system early next year. They believe that their system could also be used in disaster relief scenarios.
Winter, the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, told BetaBoston this could be an important step in solving water problems for a large part of the world’s population. “It’s an opportunity that affects half a billion people. This is step one.”
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