In many countries around the world the supply of electricity and clean water is often sporadic and of poor quality. Consulting and design company NOS is looking to address this problem with PhotoFlow, a two-in-one concept design that combines solar power generation with water collection and storage.
Many developing nations are located on or near the equator and receive more sunlight and rainfall than just about anywhere else on Earth, so why not make the most of this situation by combining solar power with water storage? That's the logic behind PhotoFlow.
The PhotoFlow design is composed of eight identical triangular photovoltaic panels that are mounted on a 400 liter recycled polyethylene water tank. When assembled, the panels measure 2 sq m (21 sq ft) and form an octagon with a slope of 3 degrees that allows water to funnel into a central filter and continue on through a hose into the tank. The inner layer of the tank is covered with a coating designed to control levels of bacteria and fungi and keep the water potable.
According to the designers, the assembled unit would be capable of generating around 340 kWh which feeds directly back into mains power.
Solar cells on each panel are covered in an anti-reflective adhesive that minimizes loss of light through reflection and utilizes a nano repellent film which helps to keep dirt from collecting on the surface and obstructing light. A lid is built into the end of each panel to allow easy access for cleaning and maintenance.
NOS is currently seeking funding for the project in the hope that one day PhotoFlow will supply homes in developing countries with these two vital resources.