CI2 Research Project: Hotbox: Solar Desalination

Project Title:
Hotbox: Solar Desalination a portable, small-scale design

Project Owner:
Andrew Norster

Project Status:
Initial Research Phase

Project Team:
Andrew Norster
None others as yet, this project is in the initial ideation phase

Funding Status

Special Needs:
We are currently looking for a Computer Science, Art and a Business Student to round out our team. To get involved please email Ray at:

The project mission is to produce a small, portable solar desalination unit that will produce enough potable water for a family or a small group of people. Ideally, the end result will be a unit that is easy to assemble, operate, and repair. The unit should produce more than five of potable water per day. It should be constructed out of materials that will result in long service life and low cost. An ideal end result will safely separate brine or particulate matter from the waste-stream to eliminate any possible pollutants.

Initially, a single prototype will be constructed to test the efficiency of desalination via small-scale concentrated solar energy. A Fresnel lens will be mounted above a containment chamber. This chamber will be constructed out of a heat-resistant material and will contain a small quantity of water. The chamber will be equipped with a single distributive heat-sink that will receive and conduct the concentrated solar energy into the water. Evaporated water will escape via a small pipe and be passively re-condensed and stored. Brine will be captured and run through a passive evaporation chamber to collect additional water and harvest the salt.

The end result of this prototype is not expected to have the ideal efficiency necessary to produce five to twenty gallons of water per day but should produce at least one to two gallons per day. Steps may be taken from there to greatly increase efficiency and to approach a more rigorous design that will yield the desired results. If this efficiency is not achieved, the small-scale concentrated solar may be abandoned in favor of a more appropriate solution and a new prototype may be constructed.