Speaking Lusa agency, Szabolcs Varga, a researcher at the Porto institute, explained that the system aims to “contribute to mitigating the lack of water” and be an alternative to the current desalination system.
The equipment “uses solar thermal energy and vapour compression technology to turn salt water into drinking water”, using two systems at the same time: a solar thermal collector and a desalination subsystem.
“Saline water desalination is a solution to deal with the shortage of potable water, but it is still a high-cost and energy-intensive process. The technology we are developing introduces renewable energy, thus bypassing these obstacles,” he noted.
According to the researcher, the prototype was designed to be applied at a local and community level, and its maintenance and use was “simple and easy”.
“We thought it made sense to develop a more robust and relatively simple system in order to be used in places where there are no highly qualified personnel to operate the equipment”, he said, adding that the system “contributes to the reduction of the carbon footprint” by using to renewable energy sources.
Szabolcs Varga said that the next step is to carry out experimental tests of the prototype and that the future objective is to “optimise, change and improve” the system, in an evolution perspective.
The equipment, developed within the scope of the SMALL SOLDES project, is co-financed by the European Union through the Compete 2020 programme and by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).