European researchers are working on an EU-funded project called HISMAR (Hull Identification System for Marine Autonomous Robotics) to develop a robotic hull cleaning system to remove marine growth from ships. Marine growth significantly increases the friction of a ship moving through water, which significantly increases the cost in terms of energy. In addition, marine growth poses an environmental hazard.
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Dean Kamen, an engineer was on The Colbert Report last night discussion his latest invention: the Vapor Compression Distiller. This device takes dirty or salinated water and produces clean fresh water. The distiller is produced by Dean Kamen’s engineering compand Deka Research, and they are aiming to distribute it world-wide to help solve ongoing and future water shortage distasters.
While I do not know precisely how this distiller works, in general a distiller would boil the water, collect the steam in baffles and let it condense into water and flow out of the machine.
Dean Kamen claims that this machine cleans all forms of dirty water. I am not sure how this is possible without membranes or filters. Any volatiles in the water with a boiling point less than or equal to that off water will boil off and possibly be collected in the baffles.
Regardless, it is an impressive machine as it will save thousands of lives.