New Distillation type Watermaker, 'Slingshot'

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by brian eiland, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    I'm reading thru the June issue of Popular Science which contains a number of interesting short articles on the potable WATER shortages that exist in various parts of the world, and even those situations that are looming right here in the USA.

    One particular article that caught my attention, and that I though might have boating implications, was one about Dean Kamen's new distillation type watermaker, 'Slingshot'. Remember Dean Kamen?....he is that inventor of numerous medical devices, and the Segway transportation machines, etc. While working on a new peritoneal dialysis machine project, he found he needed a large supply of 'pure water' even above the relatively good quality we get from many of our city tap waters in the USA.

    Where does one find that quality and quantity of pure water at a reasonable cost? The 'distillation process' can get you that pure water even when the source might be sewage water, or chemical waste water, or seawater! But the process of distillation might need to be rather large scale, and it is normally expensive energy-wise. Kamen and his engineer's went to work on the problem, and what they have come up with they have chosen to call 'Slingshot', a vapor compression distillation machine.

    The energy efficiencies for this watermaker look very good, likely exceeding that of most other methods including the reverse-osmosis ones we often utilize on vessels. BUT, still it requires a 'jump start' to initiate the evaporation stage, and a minimum amount of additional energy input to keep it running. As a result of their desire to get some of these watermaking machines into remote and impoverished areas of the world were energy input is not so readily available, they have developed machines that can run on solar power, and one of Dean's pet projects, the Sterling engine.

    Of course our boats should have no problems with supplying these watermaking machines with enough power, either solar, or battery, or generator sourced. The point is we should be able to get a very high quality of water on board at a very reasonable expenditure of energy, and a very low demand of maintenance.
    Yobarnacle likes this.
  2. AndySGray
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    AndySGray Senior Member


    That would be a negligable load on a Marine Diesel, once the engine had been running a few minutes the waste heat from the exhaust would kick start the process and we already pump raw water for engine cooling...

    Awesome - 10 years and R/O will be obsolete in watermakers
  3. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Great article, thanks for sharing it! It was, above all, a really interesting reading about the man behind it. :)

    The device is ingenious indeed, and so simple that one really has to wonder how come nobody thought of it before? :eek:
    Then again, part of the answer might lay in this little excerpt:
    "Dean Kamen At A Glance
    Education: Dropped out of college"
    Something to think about... :rolleyes:
  4. Yobarnacle
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    Yobarnacle Senior Member holding true course

    This refers to the same invention and a wee bit about the sterling generator he designed, Whispergen.
    Old posts about whispergen are all I can find. Cost $20,000 then and sold only a few. Produced 7kw of hot water and 1 kw electricity. Folk didn't want the hot water. But combined with the water distiller?

    I presume he is working on it, trying to make it more affordable and more efficient.

    Look like they are natural companion pieces to me.

    Attached Files:

  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Yeah , old news

    "By the end of 2005, a team of 200 at DEKA had produced 30 units, each the size of a compact refrigerator.[6] A pair of Slingshot devices ran successfully for a month in a village in Honduras during the summer of 2006. While the initial devices cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Kamen hopes that increased economies of scale will allow production machines to be made available for $2,000 each."


    ohm and how it works

    "a system for purifying water that's actually quite old and common. Drug companies use the same method to purify water for use in medicines [source: MECO]. The U.S. Navy has used the method to desalinate drinking water [source: MECO]."
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