MIT Has Made A Suitcase-Sized Device To Make Sea Water Drinkable

You can convert seawater into drinking water with this small suitcase-size device!

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MIT Has Made A Suitcase-Sized Device To Make Sea Water Drinkable
Image: MIT

MIT researchers have successfully created a portable desalination unit that is the size of a suitcase. The device can filter seawater and convert it into consumable water within hours. It is supposed to be a portable unit fit for remote areas, and personalized usage in difficult terrains.

What is a Portable Desalination unit?

Desalination means the removal of salt and other contaminants from the seawater and making it fit for drinking. Huge desalination plants exist to produce drinkable water for a city or town. But that isn’t possible in remote areas where drinking water becomes a luxury.

A portable desalination unit will come in handy in these situations to decontaminate water and make it fit for human consumption. Jongyoon Han, is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and biological engineering at MIT. He along with his team of researchers spent almost a decade of his life trying to build the portable desalination unit at MIT.

The team developed a technique called ion concentration polarization( ICP ) before they began working on the project. This technique eliminates the need for filters and instead uses an electrical field to separate contaminants. MIT researchers recently made an X-ray device to peep inside 3-D designs.

Portable Desalination unit
Image: MIT

Project Constraints

Creating a portable desalination unit was a challenge. Desalinators are very big, but by using a different filtration technique, the team managed to shrink them to fit in a suitcase. If someone wants to increase the production power, they can stack more interaction units on top.

To achieve such modularity, they went through a lot of design changes. Since the device doesn’t use any filters, there is no requirement for an expensive filter change. All these aspects market the portable desalination unit a lifesaver in remote areas. Places like isolated beaches, lighthouses, or tropical regions where water is abundant yet undrinkable.

Along with the main unit, it requires a battery to operate. However, the power needed to operate the unit is comparable to a smartphone charger. Jongyoon Han displayed the portable desalination unit in action in a video.

He placed the feeder tube in the seawater and connected the battery to a solar panel. Within 30 minutes, the device produced half a glass of drinking water which he gladly gulped in one go. But, he didn’t share anything about the future availability of the device or the cost of building it.

Abhishek Mishra

Abhishek Mishra

I love exploring technology and devote my time to curating detailed posts and supplying credible information to inquisitive users. I wish I had some spare time to play a few RPGs or clean my desk.