Solar Desalination

Advisor: Dr. Rebekah Oulton
Students: Nick Skouras

Picture of Solar Desalination

Nick Skouras is a graduate student of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research focuses on studying solar distillation as a reliable and sustainable method to recycle freshwater from wastewater sources like seawater and agricultural run-off. Over the past year, a prototype system utilizing a parabolic concentrating solar collector (PCSC) was constructed to study the capabilities of this system for desalination as part of a research thesis. The PCSC is a mirror that tracks the sun and focuses the sunlight onto an evacuated tube. The heat generated inside the tube is transferred to a boiler where the evaporate steam is collected and condensed into freshwater.

The Solar Desalination (SODESAL) project is multi-disciplinary, incorporating students from environmental, mechanical and electrical engineering. The SODESAL project inspired the formation of the Engineering for a Sustainable World club and is spearheading the solar distillation research at Cal Poly. The research data will help optimize a single PCSC system so that scalability of the technology as an array system can be tested using different wastewater sources. The ultimate goal is to develop solar distillation as a competitive alternative to conventional wastewater recycling methods.

The SODESAL project is currently under the final construction phase and awaiting environmental health and safety approval before data collection resumes.

For more information:
Nick Skouras
nskouras@calpoly.edu