Ariane Litalien & Janie Coté
E-light-minating the thirst: Improving a solar water disinfection method using a physical approach
Waterborne diseases are currently the number one cause of death globally, killing a child every fifteen seconds. In order to provide freshwater supplies, scientists have developed a solar water disinfection (SODIS) method that uses sunlight. Unfortunately, SODIS presents several critical unsolved problems that are health-threatening for millions of people. The purpose of this research was to improve the SODIS system in an accessible way. The first approach was theoretical research. Scientific papers were used to identify, study, and understand the SODIS problems. A manual centrifuge, insulating box and optical system were then designed. Next, several experiments were conducted and their results suggested that the new method improves the microbiological quality of the treated water. Escherichia Coli-contaminated water was used to compare the new system’s efficiency to standard SODIS under real sunlight conditions. It was suggested that the time taken by the new disinfection method could be one hour shorter. The designed system eliminates SODIS problems such as the inability to treat large or turbid volumes of water. Finally, the results along with the designed method’s future development, social, and innovative aspects were discussed, and complementary experiments conducted with several different pathogens were suggested.