The use of solar energy in desalination has been contemplated for decades. There are many well-known reasons for the growing interest in the use of solar energy to desalinate water. Arguably the most important of those reasons is the fact that solar desalination has been proven to be technically feasible. However, the cost of the solar collectors still represents a significant portion of the overall cost of a solar desalination plant. Therefore, it is very important to reduce the cost of solar collectors in order for solar desalination to be competitive. One of the best methods to do so is to locally develop solar energy conversion systems or modify existing systems such that the cost of converting solar energy into thermal energy is greatly reduced.

In this presentation, one case study of local development of a solar desalination system is outlined. The first prototype of the system consisted of two sets of mirrors that concentrated solar energy on a boiling chamber where saline water was evaporated and then later condensed, producing distilled water. The first prototype yielded a small amount of distilled water, but its cost was low compared to existing technologies. Another prototype with significant modifications was then produced to overcome the issues with the first prototype. Preliminary results are very favorable, and show that local development has many advantages, including significant cost reductions, potential for building local capacity, and fruitful collaboration between local and international institutions.


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  • Received: 05 February 2012
  • Accepted: 13 March 2012
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