Henry Glogau, a finalist in the 2021 Lexus Design Award created a solar-powered lighting fixture that desalinates water. Glogau is a New Zealander masters degree graduate from Royal Danish Academy specializing in architecture for extreme conditions.
The inexpensive prototype utilizes solar energy and collects seawater to create a solar desalination skylight that emits natural diffused light. This device produces drinking water and uses leftover salt brine to create energy to be used as a light.
“I wanted to achieve a design which was sustainable, passive, and created a striking feature inside the dark settlement home,” writes Glogau.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Henry Glogau
The device has been used as a holistic approach to provide Chile’s informal coastal settlements with water, light and energy. According to the project description, Chile has 110,000 families within 800 informal settlements communities. These homes do not receive much sunlight because the windows are boarded up for security, privacy, and extreme conditions.
The energy these families use is usually by hacking through dangerous formal systems which have caused devastating fires. This device can be installed by cutting out a whole in the ceiling. It can purify 440 millilitres of water a day and use leftover brine which sifts into batteries made of zinc and copper.
The Bureau of Reclamation said 97% of earth’s water is found in oceans which means there is only 3% of fresh water on the planet. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 780 million people do not have access to water sources.
Salt water is added to the fixture while it uses solar power from above to desalinate water through evaporation and collect fresh water for drinking.
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