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Science for Kids: removing salt from water, solar electric panel, solar stills


Science for Kids: removing salt from water, solar electric panel, solar stills.

Question
Hi – I have to do a project for school that shows how to remove salt from water so that it could drinkable.  It has to be solar powered and I have to have a working model.  My mom is trying to help, but not really. Can you guide me?  I’ve tried some google articles but I found your name.  Thanks in advance.

Answer
Hi Karissa — salt is very difficult to remove from water. There are only a few methods: Distillation, sequential freezing, and reverse osmosis. Only distillation will probably work for you — you could run a reverse osmosis or sequential freezing system on a solar electric panel, but you’d be looking at hundreds of dollars of investment.

What you need to make is a solar still, and it’s by far most efficient to use the sun’s heat directly (and NOT turn it into electricity first, then back to heat again.). Fortunately there’s lots of literature out there for building solar stills. Here are the best DIY instructions I was able to find, GOOGLE “solar still” for more.
DAN

http://www.desertusa.com/mag98/dec/stories/water.html
http://www.permapak.net/solarstill.htm
http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/solarstill.html

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