Innovation That Matters

The CCP device could filter water more quickly and cost-effectively than current systems | Photo source KAUST

Off-grid desalination process uses coal blocks and solar power


Researchers have developed a desalination device that is lightweight and uses a naturally-occuring substance

Spotted: A team of researchers from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has developed a device that uses coal for water desalination. A block of a coal-based material called carbonised compressed powder (CCP), captures water that is clean enough to drink, with solar power used to heat the device and collect condensation.

Blocks of CCP are microporous and lightweight, and with cotton fibres added to aid absorption, the device produces desalinated water swiftly and for a much lower cost than existing systems. CCP is naturally occurring and easy to create in bulk. Because it uses solar energy to provide the necessary heat, the system is accessible to many communities around the world currently lacking fresh water.

Through a partnership with Dutch company PERA, the concept is already in production for a pilot programme in Brazil. The Brazil project will focus on scaling the idea into a permanent solution that provides potable water for drinking, cooking and gardening.

Equitable access to global resources is a growing concern. Innovations such as a portable lamp powered by saltwater, and a method to grow crops using saltwater are two solutions to long-standing, local problems spotted recently by Springwise.

Written by: Keely Khoury



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