Life Raft Makes Seawater Drinkable
Surrounded by water, but not a drop to drink is never felt more profoundly than a person who is stranded at sea.
Kim Hoffmann, a graduate student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, considered this problem as a young girl spending summers on her parents’ sailboat.
This thinking led her to develop a life raft that could be the difference between life and death for a person lost at sea.
Hoffman’s Sea Kettle, which recently made the short list of this year’s James Dyson Award competition, is an insulated, sturdy shelter able to turn sea water into fresh water.
The sun’s heat causes the water in the
reservoir to evaporate. The condensed
water droplets collect in one
of four shafts and then
flow down into pockets
which can be accessed
from inside the raft.
A person using the raft operates hand pumps within the cabin in order to draw seawater into a plastic cone-shaped reservoir on the roof. Heat from the sun causes the water to evaporate. The salt-free water vapor from the evaporated seawater can be captured and collected in containers within the raft’s wall.
Hoffman says the desalination process she incorporated into the design was inspired by the Watercone, a portable water desalination cone made by Mage Water Management. By adding their concept into a conventional life raft design, Hoffman came up with the Sea Kettle.
Hoffman says the raft can provide drinking water for up to five people on a daily basis.