June 3 - An Israeli company has produced a technology that utilises the sun to distil water for drinking and agriculture. The system, which the company says is inexpensive and simple to use, has been designed for use in the developing world. Suzannah Butcher reports.
Turning water that looks like this, into this, is no mean feat - especially when the only energy to help you comes from the sun. An Israeli company is hoping its solar-powered water distiller will help solve two of the world's most pressing problems - water scarcity and water pollution. A prototype in the desert near the Dead Sea is turning dirty and salty water into water you can drink, and it's making Dr Ronald Silver from SunDwater very proud. SOUNDBITE (English) CO-FOUNDER OF SUNDWATER, DR. RONALD SILVER, SAYING: "We feel we have a, really a world-changing, revolutionary invention. Our solution is completely green, requires no infrastructure, is run on solar power and has the ability, through our proprietary design changes, to create distilled, pure water in yields that heretofore have never been achieved, to make it an economically feasible model." SunDwater CEO Shimmy Zimels says key to the system is its simplicity, making it ideal for use in developing countries. SOUNDBITE (English) SUNDWATER CEO, SHIMMY ZIMELS, SUNDWATER CEO, SAYING: "When we built the product we took in mind that this is going to be in the field, used by people that are not trained or not engineers and they don't have the ability to run these systems. So, it's a very high tech unit but it's low tech to operate and the operation is very simple, there's minimal maintenance that needs to be done so basically there's really no cost to run the system on the long run." A round photovoltaic dish concentrates the sun's rays, allowing fast evaporation of polluted water. The vapour then flows into a container where it is condensed into clean water - up to 400 litres a day. Water technology expert Avner Adin says it has great potential. SOUNDBITE (English) WATER TECHNOLOGY EXPERT AT THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM, PROFESSOR AVNER ADIN, SAYING: "It can be important first of all for remote locations, for small villages in developing countries, for agriculture in remote places. In the future, maybe the technology will improve and be used for larger projects." And with water shortages affecting every continent in the world, it's little surprise there is strong international interest in this solar-powered solution.