How to: Make A Solar Still

Category: Water / Difficulty Level: 1
Posted: 2017-02-26 16:10:34
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On a day that ended up sunny, low-humidity and about 93-degrees (although it felt like 98!) I decided it would be a good time to try out some low-tech water procurement methods. I tried both the Solar Still and a Transpiration Bag with interesting results.

The Solar-Still is a popular and well-known water procurement method. A solar still is a low-tech way of distilling water, powered by the heat of the sun (more precisely, the heat & humidity of the soil, and relative cool of the plastic). In a solar still, impure water is contained outside the collector, where it is evaporated by sunlight shining through clear plastic. The pure water vapor (and any other included volatile solvent) condenses on the cool inside plastic surface and drips down off of the weighted low point, where it is collected and removed.

Solar stills are used in cases where rain, piped, or well water is impractical, such as in remote homes or during power outages. In Florida and other hurricane target areas that frequently lose power for a few days, solar distillation can provide an alternate source of clean water.

I set up the still at 12 noon and by 6pm I had approximately 1/2-3/4C of water. Here I used non-poisonous vegetation such as elm leaves and grape leaves. The water was potable but tasted "green"...otherwise it was fine in a pinch, provided you have the materials, energy and time to wait 6 hours for 1/2C of water.


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