Two of the most important needs in developing country are a reliable source of off-grid power and a source for potable drinking water, and one design firm, NOS, thinks they might have the answer to both of those needs, in one integrated package.
The “PhotoFlow” uses eight triangular solar modules to harvest the sun’s energy, which are mounted together in an octagonal structure on the top of a water tank. The system can catch and channel rainwater hitting the panels into a central filter and then into the water tank for storage.
“Each module is equipped with first-generation monocrystalline silicon solar cells covered with an antireflective adhesive which protects the photovoltaic semiconductor and minimizes the loss of light through reflection. The system integrates an N-type and P-type silicon layers. On top of the outer layer of the glass a Nano repellent film is applied to prevent dirt from obstructing light. Each module has a lid at the end to allow easy access for cleaning, maintenance and part replacement.”
The water storage system designed by NOS to be used by the PhotoFlow is a 400 liter tank made from recycled polyethylene, which is then coated on the inside with an antibacterial and antifungal material to help keep the water safe and clean for human consumption.
When deployed, the solar panels are said to measure about 2 meters square (~ 21 sq ft), and can generate about 340 kWh of electricity. There is no integrated energy storage solution for the PhotoFlow, which could be a big drawback in the many places around the world where there is no grid to tie it to, and the need for off-grid energy is high, so the device isn’t quite as self-sufficient as it looks.
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