Life rafts are designed to sustain shipwrecked survivors for as long as possible, however finding a steady source of drinking water is a tremendous challenge while adrift at sea. Fortunately, Chinese Engineer Chao Gao has designed an award-winning experimental desalination product called C-Water that uses solar power to make drinking water. The C-Water system was a recent entry in Designboom’s Incheon International Design Awards, where its water purification possibilities drew attention due to its simple distillation technique.

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The C-Water can be placed on a damp surface or on the water in direct sunlight and, like a greenhouse, it uses solar rays to heat the water, separating out any impurifications. The evaporated water vapour then condenses on the C-Water’s roof, where it is collected in a separate area. Within 47 hours the unit can produce enough fresh water to quench your thirst.

The device could also be deployed a larger scale to produce great amounts of water, but for now the idea is being discussed as a life-saving solution for life rafts.

According to its creator, the C-Water ” is a device which produces freshwater. It evaporates sewage, salt water and other watery objects by the use of heat generated from sunlight. It is applicable to wetlands, beaches, boats, sewage and other places. It has a flexible pull-type design. Not only can it be used as the deflector of steam, but also it is space-saving and convenient for transporting. What’s more, it is beneficial to travelers to use when they are out. The aim of C-WATER is to advocate the value of creating highly environmental protection with low costs.”

It’s a remarkable device, we could certainly see it applied to other life saving situations where drinking water is needed, such as natural disasters.

+ Incheon International Design Awards

Via DesignBoom