This solar-powered skylight can turn seawater into drinking water

By: Doloresz Katanich

It’s clear that providing safe water for all is one of the most pressing problems in public health.

Now one design student thinks he has found a solution – and it’s cheap to produce and free to use.

Architecture student Henry Glogau has developed a ‘skylight‘ which produces drinking water alongside light. Even more impressively, he has passed on his design know-how to local people in Chile so they can build their own skylights using materials local to them, like old plastic bottles.

The Solar Desalination Skylight works by evaporating seawater using heat from the sun.

During the day, seawater trickles through a pipe into the bowl-shaped skylight. The salt and pollutants are removed and clean drinking water is extracted via a tap at the Skylight base. The leftover salt brine creates ‘seawater batteries’ which then power the light at night.

Henry plays down his invention, “It was not about trying to reinvent the wheel by any means. But it was about trying to combine these simple ideas, which have been around for hundreds of years, and apply them into a context that is not currently using something like this”.