For me, some of the places I would like to go require that I take more than the capacity amount of water with me. I know that NMSU has come up with a solar water distiller that will do as much as four gallons per day. I would like to work on one that would recycle grey water as well as river or rain water. I am interested in your thoughts because I am sure there are some good ones. I've already met some really intelligent folks here and respect their input. So let's discuss...
Here's a link to NMSU video...

Tags: Solar, distiller, water

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That catch method is key. What I have discovered is that with just a sheet of plastic and a frame of sorts one can creat internal condensation. Even if it is placed over grass, as long as there is a differential temperature (the inside needs to be hotter than the outside) it will work. This can be done with anything that will absorb the heat from the sun. There are two collection methods I've experimented with. One is the drip into a central collector and the other is a line of tubing that is attached to the drip wall of the distiller leading to a catch container of some sort. Getting it perfected and portable is what I'm after. I've seen them made from cookie sheets or baking pans, duct tape and glass picture frames but those wouldn't produce enough to survive on.
This is one we made last summer. It is huge and it worked but the catch method was an epic failure. Lol

That's interesting  I know you can pull a lot of water out of the ground that way. how much more water could you catch if you had the plastic dip in the middle so condensate would run to a central point. like a reverse pyramid.  .

That is a good way to do it! It works well and if I can run a line from that central catch point out to a container I wouldn't have to open it up to remove the container. I am not sure if one way would produce more water than another. I think that the surface area for the condensation is key to the answer to your question.
My first experiment was with a coffe can and lid. Put a little water in the can and put the lid on. Set it in the sun and everything that appears on the inside of the lid is pure distilled water.
If one is made at an angle with the end point being say a piece of PVC cut into a C, then the distilled water should run down the plastic or glass or whatever and into the PVC which should be angled slightly for drainage into a container. That's kinda what we did in the picture but it was just thrown together and the PVC was not cut straight. We had minimal tools but lots of time. Also, there was a trench dug under the entire assembly that we filled with river water and a piece of tin inside to absorb more heat.

like something polished that would reflect the heat back to the plastic and create a convection type atmosphere;  like a parabolic lens maybe. could do that with cloth hangers and the shiny side of aluminum foil, just an Idea. it's a cool thing your doing and quite interesting  good luck with it.

That might work, I haven't tried hanging anything yet. A fernel lenses would be a great way to produce steam quickly.

I found this video that is pretty much what Ive been thinking like but I need more than 2 cups a

There is also the SODIS method but it does not get rid of chemicals such as fluoride. It just uses the suns uv to kill bacteria from river water. That might be the way to go as long as I don't use the city water.

Did you look into fresnel lens from old projection tv's. I'm thinking they might work too with solar panels? Here's an Ebay link to start with.


If the distillation area/pan could be lined with a black plastic or painted black then coated with clear plastic etc this increases heat loading capacity if relying on solar. One issue with the scientific grade stills I have worked on over the years is that they do require cleaning fairly often based on usage rate to "descale" the evaporative surfaces of build up of calcium and other mineral residues.  The "Boiler" scale as we call it requires use of a strong acid or physical scraping to remove it

     One caveat to distilled water, is that the human body does need the small amounts of electrolytes found in water...  so if this becomes the sole water source make sure you eat a balanced diet and if working/sweating thus drinking lots of this "pure" water add some gatorade etc type powder to the water to ensure electrolyte balance.


Hi Tina,
I have chronic pancreatitis so I take a myriad of supplements and I juice. I get all the nutrition I need from the juices I make but I take enzymes to digest the rice and beans that I can eat.
I do however find that I am able to hydrate better with distilled water than anything else...just add lemon and it lowers the surface tension so it absorbs easier.
I plan on building a frame and using silicone to seal it, use waterproof black silicon for the inside surface area so it absorbs more heat. A drain and flush valve will be included to remove the sludge. I hope I don't have to scrape it if I flush it say once a week...but that's what the experiment is all about. Finding out these little things and dealing with them is fun and a huge learning process for me.
Thank you Tina
Have a great day!
Hi Gregg, I found out about fernel lenses by watching a channel on YouTube. This guy shows how yu can cut rock, metal, or burn thru just about anything if you have the focus correct. I'm not sure if one would work as a magnifier for solar panels. It may cause to much heat but it is something to look into. Especially for those days where you need magnification because of cloud coverage. But, if you want something hot enough to weld or cut without using conventional tools, a fernel lense is the way to go. Even just to start a fire or boil water...

I'll have to check out YouTube! 





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