KMUTT invents “Sunlight-Powered Wastewater Treatment Equipment” for uses during the flood
“Water” is very important to human life, especially in the flood situation. However, there are many limitations during the flood, including pure water sources and also electricity to purify water. In order to solve this, Asst. Prof. Dr. Patiya Kemacheevakul, a lecturer at Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), and her team create a Sunlight-Powered Wastewater Treatment Equipment, because sunlight is easily accessible during the flood.
The equipment works under the principle of combining sunlight by a light–reflective material to accumulate heat in a glass container. Wastewater is heated up until evaporate into vapor. The upper part of the equipment is designed to be far from the wastewater level with a slope. The vapor is then condensed at this upper part to be the pure water and flow in the designed ramp to a pure–water container, separated from the wastewater one. From the experiments of this equipment under daylight, it was found that wastewater can be treated to be pure water. E. coli, bacteria causes diarrhea, was not found in the treated water. This proofs the purity of the treated water.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Surawut Chuangchote, a lecturer at Department of Tool and Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, KMUTT, a co-inventor of this equipment said that the treated water from the equipment is actually the distilled water, so that it is surely clean. The equipment can accumulate heat of water to be about 70-80 degree Celsius, which is higher than the conventionally opened sunlight-heated water. This is because this equipment is equipped with the light–reflective, mirror–like materials. Sun light will be focused and concentrated in a limited area, so water temperature will be extremely raised. This technique is basically used in the concentrated solar power system. Even the water temperature is lower than the boiling point, but the water can be evaporated. When the water vapor reaches the lower temperature part (at the upper part of equipment), it will condense to become the pure water. To develop this equipment prototype, the team would like to make a pipe connected to the pure water for easier use of the treated water. This equipment is expected to be used during the flood situation, because it is easy assembled and cheap. The highlight is the use of simple components, such as a glass container (like a fish tank), a transparent box and glass plates. The water source can be the wastewater in the site.
Ms.Pidchaya Wongphudphad, a master’s degree student, Department of Environmental Engineering, KMUTT, a researcher for this invention said that this invention is the improvement work from an undergraduate project. Recently, this intention has been awarded for a Silver Medal in The 3rd World Invention Innovation Contest (WiC 2017), Seoul, South Korea.
From the experiment, 0.4-liter pure water can be generated from treatment of 1-liter wastewater under daylight for 8 hours. The higher mass production can be achieved by a bigger equipment.
Finally, Dr. Surawut explained that the future work for development of this invention is the studies of angles of light reflective materials to find the optimum degrees for higher temperature to heat water.