Distillate water quality of a single-basin solar still: Laboratory and field studies

A. Hanson, W. Zachritz, K. Stevens, L. Mimbela, R. Polka, L. Cisneros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Solar water distillation has long been used to provide potable water in locations where the quality of the local water is poor, especially in remote areas where other treatment options are not available. This paper reports on the performance of single-basin, solar stills for the removal of a selected group of inorganic, bacteriological, and organic contaminates. Laboratory and field trials were run on these stills in Southern New Mexico, USA, by New Mexico State University. The still design proved to be very successful in removing non-volatile contaminants from the water. The stills were also successful in removing bacteria if care was taken to avoid cross contamination from the raw water source. Stills had mixed success when it came to the removal of volatile organic compounds, such as pesticides. The ability to remove the organic compounds was directly dependent on the volatility of the compound as measured by the Henry's law constant. The stills' ability to remove contaminants from the water did not vary significantly between the units tested in the laboratory and those tested in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-645
Number of pages11
JournalSolar Energy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Alternative technology
  • Desalination
  • Solar distillation
  • Water purification
  • Water quality


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