The Solar Desalination Skylight transforms seawater into clean drinking water and covers the remaining salt brine into energy. (Image Credit: Henry Glogau)
Humanity has a thriving need for clean, safe drinking water. However, many communities around the world do not have proper access to this necessity. Clean water shortages could also have a major effect on climate change. Henry Glogau, a New Zealand architect, designed the Solar Desalination Skylight, a light fixture that converts seawater into clean drinkable water and uses leftover salt brine to produce energy.
Glogan, who works at 3XN, an architectural firm in Copenhagen, Denmark, partnered up with the Chilean NGO TECHO to develop the skylight for a Mejillones, Chile coastal community called “Nueva Esperanza.” Glogan also started this project by opening a dialogue with the community regarding resource scarcity. Afterward, the design team opened up workshops with residents to develop low-tech versions of the product with off-the-shelf materials, including plastic bottles, cans, knives, and tape.
(Image Credit: Henry Glogau)
The lamp relies on twelve salt batteries and solar power to operate. A small solar panel, which charges throughout the day, distributes power to the LED bulbs to make them illuminate. Salt brine waste, sourced from the evaporation process that produces salt batteries, also powers the skylight at night-time. The 12 seawater batteries achieve this through a chemical reaction that occurs when inserted in tubes containing zinc and copper. Overall, the lamp can produce 440ml of clean water per day.
The device features a dome with water channel patterns on the surface. A designer produced the final shape by using a CNC mill for the mold. A small tube is used to hand pump saltwater into the light while clean drinking water comes out through the bottom.
The skylight also placed first overall in the Design Educate Awards ‘Response Design’ category.
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