You read the headline right – solar powered water purification may really be a thing in the near future. Carnegie Melon University researchers have proposed a device that would bring that to a reality.
The process involves using a rod made of tin oxide and titanium dioxide placed in a bucket of water and leaving it in the sun for a while. What happens is the compounds in the rod mixed with direct sunlight oxidize water into hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide cleans the water of bacteria and organic pollutants. You'd then leave the water (without the rod) in the sun a little longer and the hydrogen peroxide breaks back down into clean, drinkable water.
Pretty cool huh?
“What we are doing, essentially, is using the energy of the sun to excite or oxidize water into a compound that has the potency to clean,” says Professor Viswanathan.
“What I hope this device will do is to give us a decentralized water treatment solution. This device, if it works the way we imagine it, will really enable access to clean drinking water for the billion people that don’t currently have access to it.”
Such a simple gadget could also be very useful to campers and being so compact, could be included in household emergency preparedness kits.
It's important to note that this is still just a proposed device and has not been fully tested or brought to the market yet. But it's a pretty exciting idea for anyone who knows water scarcity is going to be a real problem in the future. Having a few of these rods along with a few LifeStraws (read more) will be a necessity.