How Works work
Works is a multiple effect distillation system that can be powered by any heat source. Initially designed for solar thermal power, but will run on any power source.
The stacked sheets are effects that both evaporate and condensate water. The condensation is one effect heats up the feed water in the above second effect - and so on.
The system uses wicks to ensure thin film of feed water and higher efficiency. Working temperatures are always under boiling point and the distillation module is working through gravity and simple thermo dynamics.
Feed water is simply dosed into each effect and the tilted module allows the water (both feed and distillate) to run off by itself. Just add feed water and heat at the bottom of the module and it works by itself.
The wicks will clog up and will need a rinse or replacement every 6-12 months. A screwdriver, a pair of scissors and a couple of hours of work will bring it back in working order. On site and easy.
The most effective solar still
The energy efficiency of a WaterStillar Works unit has a GOR (gained output ratio) between 3.5 and 5, depending on configuration and feed water quality. We believe this is some kind of record in a 24/7 working solar powered distillation system. These results are from real life running systems with months/years of operation - not a prototype.
The high efficiency means that it makes sense to use a wide range of alternative energy sources to work along with solar thermal power to achieve a 24H production window. Works is normally working at ambient pressure and at temperatures close to boiling point.
Adding vacuum to the distillation units will dramatically increase the yield and efficiency, but also add technical complexity and risk of biofouling. Adding more energy and superheating water into steam will also increase the yield, but also complexity.
So, for drinking water, WaterStillar keeps the system simple and rigid. For industrial use and with the right organisational setup, WaterStillar can enter projects where the yield can be (much) higher.
It is simple but not easy to design a solar distillation system that can be assembled and maintained by non-professionals.
We think we have come a long way. A few days of assembly/ maintaining a WaterStillar Works system is enough to understand how it works and how to maintain it.
Designing it and making the software is quite different. Here 10 years of development and +40 prototypes is the current state - and the next gen is already in the developement roadmap.
We try to work backwards from the user experience. What a customer will experience is a nice tap or cooler with clean, tasty water. The customer will see a ready system in acontainer with 4 connections in the wall - 2 days average and it is installed/running. After that - noiseless - water at the point of use - is there. Simple and we make it easy to do the right thing over plastic bottles.
The picture shows how a wick is placed by hand and clicked in place. No tools needed. Simple.