Portable Desalination: How to Filter Salt Water

Water is an elementary and essential resource for existence and development of life on Earth. Humans cannot survive without water.

If you look around, you will find that safe drinking water is never enough for all living beings in the world, especially in the wake of natural calamities like the earthquakes, hurricanes etc.

Despite the fact that, 70% part of earth is made of water, there is still shortage of drinking water as 97% of the water on earth is salty water, leaving approximately 1% fresh water for living beings.

So with the ever-increasing population and decreasing sources of drinking water, it becomes essential to purify the huge amount of salty and undrinkable water of sea to meet the requirements of everyone.

Why Desalination Matters?

If you have ever been the slightest bit interested in knowing about oceans, you would know that humans just can't swallow seawater as it is highly salty and not at all good for human health. Since, the seawater contains enormous amount of salt and other minerals, it can dehydrate the human body and lead to serious consequences.

Nevertheless, what would happen if humans can change the seawater to drinkable water? Well, there is no need to run away with your imagination, because it is possible. This process is called Desalination.

What is Desalination?

Desalination comprises of a procedure that can get rid of various dissolved minerals along with the salt from the seawater, or highly salted water, or wastewater. There are several methods for desalination, together with Reverse Osmosis, Electrodialysis, Distillation, and more. Extraction of salt and added minerals from the seawater makes the water appropriate for the residential and commercial use.

A desalination kit comprises of a desalination compartment that heats up the saltwater on a in an secluded space. It converts the saltwater into water vapors, which helps in getting rid of the salt from the water, as water vapors cannot contain the salt. As water evaporates, the salt is left behind at the bottom of the heating compartment.

Then the water vapor is transferred into another compartment where it is kept until it cools down and takes the form of drinkable water in the liquid form. Those people who reside nearby the seashores have a preference of keeping desalination equipment with them in case fresh drinking water is not easily available for them in a natural way.

Why Desalination is Important?

With the decreasing sources of drinking water, it becomes essential to purify the huge amount of salty water of sea to meet the requirements of everyone. This is where desalination is needed. Desalination gets rid of salt and minerals from the seawater and make it drinkable.

Increasing Population

Fast-growing population is one of the major factors leading to scarcity of water, because of not only the requirement for fresh drinking water, but also the agricultural needs. Even the increase in usage of biofuels to bring down the depletion of fossil fuels has an unanticipated outcome on the consumption of water worldwide. Approximately 1,000 to 4,000 litres of water are required to generate 1 litre of biofuel.

Money-Saving Process

Desalination not just offers economic advantages, but it also lead to several environmentally friendly benefits.

First of all, there is hardly any water transport cost is involved with this process, as desalination does not require too many pipelines or setting up of pumping projects.

It will lead to less use of land and a lesser amount of energy will be used in the transporting process as compared to other water transporting system.

Overuse of Groundwater

Next, since the mistreatment and overuse of water in lakes and rivers, and groundwater has triggered many severe concerns.

Mainly because of the extreme pumping in shoreline regions and overuse of groundwater, when the soil falls and contracts, saltwater can move into internal part of the land and upwards, thus, leading to ground water becoming polluted.

Here, desalination process can be very convenient in bringing down the water shortage problem in coastal regions.

Unrestricted Water Supply

With 70% of Earth covered with oceans, seawater converted into drinking water will deliver an unrestricted, consistent supply of water for those living in the zones near oceans throughout the world. Moreover, salted water in other areas can also be used for drinking purpose.

At present, there are thousands of desalination plants, working all over the globe, of which about 60% are situated in the Middle East regions.

Helpful during natural calamities

With increasing imbalances in the natural weather cycle, drought conditions are occurring more often and for longer period. Drinking water resources are decreasing and many parts of the world are still not fully aware of desalination procedures and setting up of plants.  

As a result, it becomes more imperative that desalination projects get set up at various locations in the world. Interestingly, the cost of setting up the desalination project is coming down due to the technological advancement in this field. 

Preserve Fish Habitations

When projects to divert lakes, rivers, and groundwater are implemented, it also causes harm to fish habitats. With proper implementation of desalination plants, greater volumes of water can be acquired and it will help in preserving life in rivers and lakes.

Despite all the advantages desalination brings for human race, it is necessary that these benefits must be evaluated against the damaging impact desalination plants can have on the oceanic life.

Methods of Desalination

There are more than a few techniques of desalination. However, majority of these techniques falls under two comprehensive kinds, Thermal desalination, and Membrane Desalination.

Thermal desalination

It comprises of the usage of a heat to boil water to turn it into vapor. As the water starts evaporating, salt and other minerals dissolved in that water are left behind and the vapour then later turns into purified drinkable water.

Membrane desalination

It is the procedure, which is every so often talked about as reverse osmosis. It includes two separate techniques. One technique makes use of pressure, where water is forcibly pushed through a membrane that removes the salt and minerals from water in order to get cleaned drinkable water. The second technique comprises of the introduction of an electrical current in the water. 

The electricity draws the molecules of salt and other mineral dissolved in the water, extracting them from the water.

Industrial Desalination System

Majority of industrial desalination plantations use membrane desalination or reverse osmosis. They comprise of a sequence of small pipes equipped with membranes and water is forced through them. Generally, these industrial desalination systems are set up nearby a water body like ocean and they follow highly specialized procedure to purify the salty water containing hazardous chemicals.

Portable Desalination or Desalination At Home

If you want to build a portable desalination kit at your home, portable desalination is your best option.  It can convert the salty water into purified drinkable water.

People who live near the coastal regions usually face shortage of fresh drinking water. As a result, they could use some desalination methods to solve their water shortage problems. Now that you know about the basic steps behind desalination, you can put them into action:

Given below are the things you will need to make your own portable desalination system:

  • Glass Jar
  • 2 Pots
  • Stove
  • Cloth
  • Rubber Tubing
  • Aluminium Foil

4 Easy Steps To Create Your Own Portable Desalination Unit

Mentioned below are 4 simple steps on how you can build your own Desalination unit at your home:

Step 1. First step towards building your portable desalination is to set-up the desalination chamber. You can do it by wrapping one pot with aluminium foil sheet. However, you need to make sure that you leave a small gap for setting up the rubber tubing.

Step 2. In the second step, attach the rubber tubing to the small gap left on the pot that is covered in aluminium foil sheet. While attaching the tube, make sure the pot is fully enclosed and airtight. This tube will transfer the water vapors through another pot.

Step 3. Once you have attached the rubber tubing in the first pot, now, take a small part of the rubber tubing from the inside of the second pot, which would be your condensation chamber. You would have to fill ice water in the second pot, as it will create the condensation chamber that will turn the water vapors into fresh drinking water.

Step 4. The fourth and final step would be to place the glass jar at the other end of the rubber tubing to collect the fresh filtered drinking water. Make sure that you put the other end of the tube inside the glass jar, so that water won’t fall outside of the jar.

Using Your DIY Portable Desalination System

Fill the first pot with salt water and then place this pot on the stove in order to boil the water.

When filling salt water and ice water in both the pots, make sure that they are filled on the same level.

To end with, make sure that the glass jar is placed on a lower level as compared to other two pots. That way the filtered fresh drinking water will easily be able to move in the jar.

Mechanism Of Portable Desalination Unit

When the desalination process begins, the water in first pot or the desalination chamber is heated. There the salty or dirty water starts boiling and converts into water vapor. Water vapour rises leaving the salt, minerals, and other dirty particles behind at the bottom of the pot. Vapors also leave out any other dense particles that might have been in the salty or dirty water. Do not forget to cleanse the pot after usage.

Then the water vapors will move through rubber tubing. It will transfer the water vapors from first pot to second one. As the vapors will move through the tubing placed inside the second pot, the ice water will cool down the vapors, turning them into fresh drinkable water.

Then that fresh drinkable water will move forward in the tubing and drip in the glass jar.  That is why it is imperative to place the jar at the lower level than the 2 pots.

Problems That Might Occur With Your Portable Desalination Unit

So, everything looks great. Salty water will turn into purified drinkable water, and meet your water requirements. There is hardly any doubt that the portable desalination technique is quite an effective and efficient method. You would understand it, once you try it at your home. However, nothing in this world is perfect, and this desalination technique is no exception. Given below are some of the possible issues that you might occur with your desalination unit:

One of the biggest drawbacks of this method is that it can be very time-consuming process. It takes a large amount of time and energy to get through this procedure. While it takes a lots of time to set up the desalination unit, it also takes lots of time for water to boil down and evaporate.

This desalination procedure purifies the salty or dirty water, but it takes lots of heat energy to get the job done.

To turn the salty or dirty water into vapors, water would have to reach the boiling point of 100 C and that means that you would be using the stove for about half an hour.

After you have used the desalination unit, it can be a bit troublesome to clean the whole unit. You would have to clean the pots, rubber tubing, and the glass jar. You might not have to work hard initially, but once you have used the unit more than a few times, you might have to put in extra efforts to clean the whole unit.

Here is the video Portable Solar Powered Water Purification Desalination System Works

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