A solar distillation unit is disclosed capable of operating entirely off solar radiation and intended for large scale industrial use offshore. A lens focusing system housed within an enclosed shell focuses the incident radiation from the sun on a heating element. Saltwater or contaminated fresh water is ejected toward the heating element at a predetermined rate resulting in the immediate evaporation of the water. The water vapor migrates and condenses on the cooler inner surface of the shell running to the bottom where it is collected and removed as fresh water.
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1. A solar distillation apparatus to remove impurities from salt water or contaminated fresh water comprising:
- an enclosed shell;
- at least one heating element mounted within said shell;
- at least one light focussing system supported by said shell for focussing solar radiation onto said heating element;
- a control system for detecting the solar radiation and orienting the light focussing system with the path of the sun;
- means for introducing salt water or contaminated fresh water into a heat transfer relationship with the heating element to vaporize said water within said shell;
- a condensation surface comprising an inner surface of said shell for liquifying said vapor into potable fresh water condensate;
- means for cleaning and reshaping said heating element; and,
- tracking means for orienting said light focussing system so as to be incident with said solar radiation.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said tracking means includes a plurality of sensors disposed on said enclosed shell equally spaced from said light focussing system for sensing incident radiation which is not substantially perpendicular to said light focussing system; and means for rotating said enclosed shell about perpendicular axes in response to said sensors detecting solar radiation exceeding a predetermined angle from said light focussing system.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein each of said sensors comprises:
- an enclosed housing transparent at one end for admitting said solar radiation;
- an opaque enclosure having a narrow window along one side for admitting said solar radiation and mounted within said housing for pivotal movement about an axis oriented substantially perpendicular to said incident solar radiation;
- a photosensitive cell mounted within said opaque enclosure and disposed so as to be impinged by said solar radiation through said narrow window;
- at least one mirror mounted within said opaque enclosure for diffusing said solar radiation and deflecting said solar radiation admitted into said opaque enclosure onto said photosensitive cell; and,
- sensitizing means for controlling said solar radiation striking said photosensitive cell and further controlling the amount of angular movement required of the solar radiation to activate said means for rotating said enclosed shell.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said sensitizing means includes:
- an adjustable plate mounted adjacent to said transparent end of said opaque enclosure for varying the amount of radiation admitted into said enclosure; and,
- means for reorienting said narrow window with respect to said transparent end and varying the amount of incident radiation entering said enclosure.
5. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said photosensitive cell is a photoelectric cell.
6. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said photosensitive cell is an infrared cell.
7. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said means for rotating said enclosed shell includes:
- a first motor for pivoting said shell about a first axis; and,
- a second motor for pivoting said shell about a second axis in perpendicular relationship to said first axis.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7 wherein:
- a first group of said plurality of sensors providing a signal to said first motor for pivoting said shell about said first axis in response to a change in the relation of said solar radiation to said sensors; and,
- a second group of said plurality of sensors providing a signal to said second motor for pivoting said shell about said second axis in response to a change in the relation of said solar radiation to said sensors.
9. An apparatus according to claim 8 further including circuit means connected to said first and second groups of sensors for delivering said signal to said first and second motor, wherein said circuit means comprises an electrical relay response to said first and second groups of sensors for activating said first and second motors; and,
- a power supply electrically connected to said electrical relay for driving said first and second motors.