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New Zealand Designer Makes Ingenious Solar-Powered Skylight That Desalinates Water For Drinking


Those who live in the slums of the coast of Chile see as much water as they could possibly need, but cannot drink it because it is too salty. There is also abundant solar power on the coast, but nothing to use the power source with.

Solar desalination skylight

Lexus Design Award 2021 finalist Henry Glogau you’re creating something that makes use of these abundant, yet unusable resources, with a solar-powered desalination still and light fixture.

In Chile, 110,000 families live in 800 shanty towns, where potable water is scarce, power comes unreliably through an electrified wasp nest of rigged electrical cables, and windows are often bricked up to increase privacy and security, eliminating almost all natural light.

“I wanted to achieve a design that was sustainable, passive, and created a striking feature within the house of the dark settlement.” write Goglau, who graduated from the Royal Danish Academy with a master’s degree in architecture specializing for extreme conditions.

“In my development process, it became apparent that I could address the lack of indoor lighting and access to water by creating a hybrid skylight and a solar desalination device.”

Truly killing multiple birds with one stone, Goglau’s salinization can still purify 440 milliliters of water a day, and the leftover brine is sifted into batteries made of zinc and copper where they power an LED strip for use at night.

Solar desalination skylight

During the day, the light is powered by a small solar panel, and everything is cheap to make.

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Not only focused on function, the solar salinization skylight is modeled in such a way that it uses the chemical process of evaporation and condensation to create funky lighting patterns on the walls and floor as photons move through the walls. drops of water, steam and ripples in the stylized shadow.

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With the help of local NGOs, Goglau’s device, even before Lexus chose the winner from the six finalists,they were already being installed among informal households in the Chilean town of Antofagasta.

(CLOCK the video about the innovative skylight below).

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