A new invention is designed to bring both electricity and clean water to areas that currently lack them.
Researchers at the Technological University of Mexico named the device Pluvia and tested it in Iztapalapa, an impoverished part of Mexico City, according to IEEE Spectrum, a magazine edited by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Using this device, rainwater is collected from a roof gutter or by means of sheeting that simulates a slope, the report said. "The water passes through a filter, specifically designed to clean rainwater during the first two weeks of the rainy season, which has higher acidity and contaminants; that water is stored in a tank. A pump then helps the remaining water flow past the small turbine, which generates the electricity."
"After passing through the turbine, the water then proceeds on through a charcoal filter to remove odors, flavors, colors, and other contaminants," the report said.
The result: The water is clean at the end of the process. Researcher Coca Leyva said in a press release: "With this latest filter the liquid is equal to or cleaner than the water in the network supply system of Mexico City."
The process also yields electricity. "This energy can power LED lamps and other small appliances such as refrigerators or table fans that occupy a maximum of 12 volts. However, architecture students at UNITEC are looking to increase the power of both the storage system and the microturbine to supply power and water to more homes," the release said.
Residents of Iztapalapa, where the device was tested, are wary of local tap water.
"In Iztapalapa and in many communities across Mexico, talk of tap water is a constant — whether there is any, how it smells, what color it is, or whether it carries sand, mud or unspecified insect life," the New York Times reported.
"Despite reassurances from the authorities that municipal plants pump clean water into the supply network, skepticism is widespread, even when politicians sometimes come forward to guzzle some tap water in public to make a point," it continued.
Image credit: "Tulum, Mexico," © 2008 chriswsn, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
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