Scientists at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia have developed a device that produces electricity and clean water at the same damn time.

Same Damn Time?

How does it work?

The new device makes it possible to evaporate and collect water at relatively low temperatures. A 3-stage distillation unit was mounted in the backside area of a standard solar panel so that when the sun hits the panel, the heat that’s normally dissipated into the air is instead used to collect clean, drinkable water.

That’s mighty good news for 780M people worldwide

The device doesn’t need to be connected to a larger infrastructure – meaning they can be deployed in remote areas that lack access to clean water supply and produce power and clean water right away. Around 780 million people live in these off-grid areas globally so the potential of devices like this to improve their quality of life is huge.

The team at King Abdullah University has huge hopes as well. They believe a market-ready version of the device could be available in 5 years and if distributed globally, the devices could produce 4 billion cubic meters of water annually or about 10% of the world’s water consumption.

Solar power tech is advancing

The traditional solar panels you see on the roofs are becoming a thing of the past. You might’ve heard about Tesla Solar Roofs, which look like regular roof tiles, and there are now translucent solar windows as well. You can now also grow crops underneath solar panels – German researchers were able to increase land efficiency by 60% by growing crops under solar panels. In 2018, India’s Cochin Intl Airport, the first airport powered entirely by solar power, produced 60 tons of vegetables in the land underneath its solar panels.

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