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A group of engineers believe they have created an important new machine that could remove salt from saltwater using only the sun. Humans need water to survive. But some people don’t have access to clean drinking water. The engineers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) traveled to India two years ago and found that drinking water in some rural villages contained high levels of salt. The salt made the water hard to drink and damaged pots and pans for cooking. Existing desalination systems are able to remove salt from saltwater. But these machines usually are very large and use a lot of electricity. So the MIT engineers developed a new system that would be cheaper, fit in a standard tractor-trailer and get its power entirely from the sun. Using solar power is key, because electricity is not always available in these villages. The MIT system should also be able to work in about 90 percent of India’s wells, although it wouldn’t be strong enough to be used on seawater, which has much more salt.

Read more about the MIT engineers’ desalination system.

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