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Solar Distiller

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Makeshift solar distiller/desalinater with the goal of sustainable drinking water for people who need it

In a place where the sun shines very often, no one should be without drinking water. I made this project with $20 and an old satellite dish, a mylar blanket, two mason jars, one rubber tube, a frying pan, an ace bucket, the bottom half of an umbrella and about 30 pounds of Tahoe sand

  • has to be cheap to be feasible
  • needs sunlight
  • Toughest part is getting a satellite dish

Project goals[edit]

Give everyone in the world a way to have sustainable drinking water, this is only part of the solution.


My idea was to cover the satellite dish in mylar, making it into a parabolic mirror on the cheap. This was the entire point of the project because parabolic mirrors are expensive, and broken satellite dishes and mylar are fairly cheap. I would then focus sunlight from the parabolic mirror onto a frying pan with a jar of dirty water in it. This will heat the pan, slowly distilling the water into another mason jar that is connected with a rubber hose.


$20. I already had lots of the stuff lying around my house, but if i were to buy everything brand new except for the satellite dish it would have been closer to $50.


Your discussion.

The downfall of my project is this. The 3 days when it was strong enough sunlight to have a chance of working, it was freezing temperatures outside. This shows a serious downfall with my project. It doesn’t work during the winter. Even if its only for a few weeks a year that it does not work, if a family puts their only twenty dollars towards this project, they will be thirsty those few weeks. That is unacceptable The next steps.


For this reason, I see why my project is of limited use to people around the world. I am pretty unhappy that I don’t get to test it and show you my results, but there is nothing I can do about that. I will certainly do experiments once the sun comes out. If all goes well I will only have to put it outside and leave a jar of water in the right spot. i will update this page with results when i have them