A box solar distiller uses the principle of the water cycle to distill and give you clean drinkable water. The water from a source is allowed to evaporate using solar energy but the source is covered with a transparent sheet or glass where the precipitation collects and is collected from to get clean water. This process is used to desalinate ocean water and clean undrinkable water. The process is being used commercially in many remote areas but it is also an effective survival technique in case you are stranded without water.
Step 1 – Understanding the Mechanics
Solar distillation process has been explained above, but in a survival situation where there is no visible water source, you can utilize the water evaporation from the ground to get clean drinkable water. This type of set up is called a box solar distiller or just a stiller. Commercially manufactured for home use solar distillers are also available in the market.
Step 2 – Setting up the Apparatus
Dig a hole in the ground to place the small cup or glass in. Place the large box around it with the bottom cut out so that it acts as a structure to hold the plastic sheet. You can paint it black or a darker color, so that it absorbs more heat. This will be the basic set up. If you have pots and pans and an evident water source you can fill up a large pot with the contaminated water and place the smaller cup in it and follow the rest of the instructions.
Step 3 – Placing the Plastic Sheet in Place
Place the plastic sheet on top of the box securing it so that it does not slip when you place the weight in the middle. You can use a small stone as a weight. Place it in the middle forming an inverted pyramid pointing towards the glass, so that the precipitation falls into the glass.
Step 4 – Filling up With Water
You will get a quart of water in about 12 hours and the clean water will fill up in the glass that you placed within the system.
Step 5 – Choosing the Location Where to Keep the Set Up
Make sure where you set up your system there is plenty of sunshine and it is not very windy. If you are making the portable pot and pan type you can place it at a height but keep it around 3 to 4 feet off the ground.
Step 6 – Tips and Notes
There is no hard and fast rule as to what sort of container or water source you use, the basic principle remains the same. If you are using a pan system, clean out the pan once all the water has distilled and do not let the collector cup over flow or you will have to do the whole thing over again.