#3 – Water, Water Everywhere

Do you remember the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and the line, “water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink”? The sailor in Coleridge’s poem is stranded on a becalmed sea surrounded by saltwater.

We take our water for granted today whether it’s the world-renowned water from New York City taps, purified by filters or bottled, even though the latter is an environmental scourge. But in many parts of the world, especially in impoverished countries, pure water cannot be taken for granted. It’s a necessity that becomes safe to drink via solar purification.

Solar water disinfection uses UV-A radiation as a germicide and infrared to raise the temperature for pasteurization. While it is feasible, relatively simple and inexpensive, it is also time-consuming requiring hours of sunlight. In early 2017, researchers announced the development of an inexpensive solar still that would significantly decrease the amount of time needed to purify water.

But now there’s even better news. Stanford University researchers in tandem with the Department of Energy have developed a small solar energy tablet about the size of an Altoid mint that can purify water in a matter of minutes vs. hours.

Imagine the uses in countries where water is filthy and bacteria-laden. In the U.S., the first uses may be with hikers, campers and other REI types who would no longer need to filter, boil or use chemicals to purify water in the great outdoors.

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Published by
Steven J. Schleider, MAI, LEED-AP BD+C
President, Metropolitan Valuation Services

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