A Portable Solar Energy Conversion System for Use in Disaster Relief
The increased severity and frequency of extreme weather events caused by climate change are major issues that need to be acknowledged. One of the most important problems caused by these events is providing relief for the victims. The goal of this project is to develop, construct and test a portable solar energy conversion system that utilizes solar photovoltaic and thermal conversion technology to provide both electricity and clean water. The system is also easily deployed, transportable by pick-up truck, and able to withstand harsh environmental conditions. The system disinfects water using a three-tiered system of filtration, pasteurization using solar thermal energy, and ultraviolet exposure. Water pasteurization is achieved by utilizing a water storage tank, controlled flow circulation, evacuated tube heat pipe solar thermal collectors, and a heat exchanging manifold. The heat output of the evacuated tube collectors was experimentally determined using a scaled model system. With this heat output value, the final system was designed and constructed. The system also uses two 100 W photovoltaic modules to charge an 18 Ah battery to power the UV lamp and pump in the system and provide emergency electricity to power lights, communication devices, and other small electrical loads.