Almogordo trial for commercial-size solar desalination still

Indiana-based Suns River is nearing completion of a commercial-sized solar still at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in Almogordo, New Mexico, USA, following the issue of a patent on its process (US #8,088,257) on 3 January 2012.

Suns River chairman and CEO Hill Kemp told D&WR that the company expected to start up the installation in early March 2012.

Kemp first announced the process in a paper (IDAWC/DB09-346) to the Dubai congress of the International Desalination Association in 2009.

“We have made some further refinements but our breakthrough is alterations to the classic solar still which zoom its productivity by a factor of 3-5 times,” said Kemp. “In much of the desalination market, our economics are better than reverse osmosis, especially when logistics costs are included.”

Because the product is distilled water, in some circumstances it can be blended with feed water to achieve normal, potable mineral content. Production at the Almagordo site is expected to be 600-1,000 L/d of distilled water from a feed of local salty well water.

Kemp plans numerous tests and may get even higher production: “This is the inland version of our process. The seaside version is more flexible at lower capital cost,” he said.