Development of a Mobile Water Disinfection Unit Powered by Renewable Energy


Following such natural disasters as Hurricanes Katrina and Ike and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, it has become apparent that supplying a reliable source of clean drinking water is essential. Water supply and the associated transportation of potable water is a considerable burden on recovery efforts following a natural disaster. To reduce this burden and meet the water requirements of a community a low maintenance, low cost trailer mounted water disinfection system has been developed which has the capability to provide potable water from local surface water bodies until the infrastructure is repaired. To achieve disinfection of contaminated surface water the system uses a series of pre"filters and an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection unit. The system is powered using a hybrid photovoltaic array and wind turbine system. In an effort to increase the storage capability and decrease the maintenance required by the system, relatively high maintenance traditional batteries have been replaced with an ultracapacitor to store the energy generated by the renewable energy component. The prototype system was field tested throughout several months. Tests conducted on the system included monitoring of the energy generation and consumption of the system components and verification of the disinfection capability through sampling of various surface water bodies. The prototype performed as desired, however during testing the PV array provided sufficient energy and it was deemed that the wind turbine was redundant.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Second Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Drinking water; Solar power; Wind power; Drinking water; Wind power

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2011