Turning Salt Water Into Fresh Water: Solar Desalination

We are testing an affordable solar water desalination technology to provide access to freshwater in the remote islands of Indonesia.

Project Type

  • Experimentation


Families living in Likotuden village, Flores, Indonesia, make several trips each day to collect water, carrying small quantities each time. Moreover, their nearest water source is mixed with the surrounding seawater. As a result, these families often consume the saline, brackish water for daily use. Seawater is in abundance in the remote islands, but it has to be filtered to make it safe for drinking. The desalination technology, which allows minerals and salt to be removed from the saline water, is usually costly and not always available for the people who really need it.


A solar water desalination technology, the Carocell 3000 Water Purifier is now available. At approximately US$250, this technology is affordable on a community basis. It can produce safe, high-quality potable water from any source including seawater, groundwater and contaminated or polluted water.

We will bring two units of technology for testing into a household environment in East Flores, Indonesia. With basic training on correct usage, this simple technology can produce up to 20 litres of freshwater from seawater every day.

In this experiment, we will measure:

  • the overall functionality of the technology in the last mile environment
  • the water saline level before and after filtration
  • the amount and quality of the generated freshwater.

The Kopernik team will collect feedback from the user and analyse the results of the experiment over three months. At the end of the experiment, Kopernik will publish and share the results in a series of blogs and a project report.


If the results from the experimentation phase are promising, Kopernik will develop a project that will make the solution available on a larger scale.

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Access to fresh water continues to be a problem for the majority of families living in remote Indonesian islands. Seawater is not safe for drinking without first being desalinated. Conventional desalination technology can be effective but is often prohibitively expensive and therefore not widely accessible in last mile communities.

In this project, Kopernik tested the Carocell 3000 Water Purifier in Likotuden, East Flores. Kopernik hypothesized that this technology would successfully produce enough potable water per day to meet one family's drinking water needs. Our experiment concluded that the Carocell 3000 Water Purifier:

  • Is an effective solar desalination technology, functioning adequately in a last mile environment;
  • Meets safe saline level requirements for potable water (<0.05%)[1]; and
  • Produces  an average of 10 liters of fresh water per day, meeting the daily average drinking water needs for the family of four we tested it with and the WHO assumption on daily per capita consumption of approximately 2 litres for adults[2].


Download the project report above to read more.




Costs associated with the technology


Project Management

Costs associated with project coordination


Monitoring and Evaluation

Costs associated with data collection and reporting


Wire Transfer Fee

Cost of transferring payments internationally


Payment Processing Fee

Cost of processing online donations (5%)


Administration Fee

A contribution to Kopernik's operational costs (15%)


Total $3,791

Kopernik Solutions provided a sub-grant to a trusted partner organisation who is implementing this project.