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C-Water, a Solar Water Desalinator That’s Stowable on Life Rafts

Chinese designer Chao Gao’s award-winning C-Water concept uses passive solar power to separate salt out of seawater in small batches.

Anyone who’s seen Waterworld knows that finding potable water is not the easiest thing to accomplish in a remote location. Chinese designer Chao Gao has created an award-winning experimental product called C-Water that uses passive solar power to make water desalination a no-brainer. And its ingenious collapsible design sure looks more convenient than the Rube-Goldberg urine-filtering machine that Kevin Costner used.

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c-water

The C-Water uses sunlight and distillation to separate H2O from the nastier stuff: just set the device down on a damp surface (or float it on the water) in direct sunlight, and like a tiny greenhouse, the sun’s rays will heat the water within the enclosure. Water vapor (sans salt) condenses on the C-Water’s “roof”, runs down into the reservoir, et voila: a mere 47 hours later, you have enough fresh water to lightly coat your tongue in. (Good luck hitting that “2 Liter” mark!)

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c-water closeup

We kid, we kid. It’s a clever concept, even if it’s probably slow to actually work. But if you’re stuck on a raft with nothing to do but wait for rescue, a C-Water could be a literal lifesaver — and that sturdy, accordion-esque design could even make the devices cheap and compact enough to build into lifeboats and other survival/crisis-response equipment.

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c-water

[Read more at Yanko Design]

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About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets

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