Solar Water Distiller
In the simple water distiller we described how to make the simplest of solar stills. Here we will expand on it so that you can improve on the design when moving from an initial lost in the woods type of survival situation to a trying to rebuild yourself a home type of solar distillation system.
For this distiller you will need the same components. A water source of ANY type, a clean water collection container, a piece of glass, various materials such as wood and plastics to make a dirty water basin and once again plenty of sunshine.
The design is really quite simple. The first step is to make a box (metal, wood, plastic) with a glass top. The glass top should be unlevel unlike a well made table. If the distiller is not made this way you can prop up one side of the distiller to make the top unlevel. The reason for the unlevel glass top is so that the condensation will run down the glass into your clean water container and not simply drop back into the dirty water container. A steep angle of somewhere around 45 degrees is great. But the angle does not need to be exact.
The length and width of your box size will most likely be dictated by the glass that you have available. The bigger the glass the better. Meaning the more drinking water your distiller can produce. This box will need to hold water so no holes or cracks. If your box does have a crack or a hole it will need to be sealed or you can simply add some sort of plastic liner.
However you build your dirty water container box you will want the box if at all possible to be black. Black will absorb more heat from the sun and vaporize the dirty water more quickly than a less dark color. It is the same principle of wearing dark clothes in winter and whites in the summer.
The dirty water container box should have a trough at the lower end of the glass. As the water runs down the glass it will collect in the trough. The trough can be a part of the box or an addition to the box. A hole is drilled into the box to allow the water in the trough to run out into your clean water collection container. People most often use a piece of tygon tubing or a water hose leading to a plastic jug. The trough should be at a slight angle so that the water will run to the outlet hole for best performance.
Don't forget to add a plugable hole in the side of your dirty water container above the water line that will allow you to add more water to the distiller.
If you have mirrors you can situate them too direct even more sunlight into the distiller to heat the water up even faster. Efficiencies vary but you can expect to produce about 1 gallon (3.78 liters) of water per sunny day from a 4 foot by 5 foot (1.2 X 1.5 meter) distiller.