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Jun 10, 2015 7:58 AM ET

Archived: EPIPHANY SOLAR WATER SYSTEMS, LLC: a concentrated solar powered (CSP) system

iCrowdNewswire - Jun 10, 2015




Epiphany began in 2005 when Tom Joseph and Henry Wandrie first conceived of a simple and inexpensive method of distilling water with concentrated solar energy.  After receiving seed funding from Innovation Works (a PA Ben Franklin Technology Partner) in 2009, a team of diverse and highly skilled individuals was secured to undergo the project. Among them are experts in solar energy, design, manufacturing, marketing, and business management.

Epiphany Solar Water Systems has developed a concentrated solar powered (CSP) system that answers the water and energy problem with a solution that can provide clean water from contaminated or sea water in volumes from 100 to 100,000 gallons per day (GPD) economically and reliably. The most basic Epiphany system uses direct solar energy to power a proprietary multi-stage water distillation system, which is installed at the focal point of a parabolic solar collector dish. Also available is a solar/electric hybrid unit, which combines the reliability of a conventional distillation unit with the energy efficiency of concentrated solar power.  

Since its conception, Epiphany SWS has completed fabrication of various successful beta units with pilot field testing completed by the end of 2013. Epiphany SWS’ Beta hybrid unit was unveiled at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, concurrent with the release of the non-profit organization, Project EviivE.  Project EviivE’s sole purpose is to provide water purification systems to developing communities worldwide.



While concentrated solar power systems already exist in the energy production marketplace, the direct end-user benefit of Epiphany’s parabolic solar collector dish design is that it is simple and uses common off the shelf (COTS) components – which can easily be sourced through distribution channels all over the world – to produce a unit that can be installed and maintained by anyone, regardless of skill level.

Furthermore, the system’s modular design allows for easy scaling and adaptation to a variety of environments ranging from remote villages to small municipalities.  The units are well suited to distill both contaminated and salt/sea water.  This unit is the ideal solution for small villages, Military, and Emergency Management (DHS/FEMA) applications.



Epiphany’s flagship product utilizes a parabolic concentrating dish to focus sunlight on a proprietary, high-throughput distillation unit mounted at the dish’s focal point. The operation of the system is simple: Dirty water passes into the distillation unit and instantly vaporizes due to the intense heat focused on the distillation unit. During the vaporization process, any dissolved solids (e.g. heavy metals) separate, and living organisms (e.g. bacteria) are killed due the intense heat. The water vapor (now void or any impurities) continues to pass through the distillation unit. As the steam reaches colder stages it begins to condense back down into distilled water. From the output of the distillation unit then comes freshly distillated water, safe for consumption. The figure below pictorially illustrates the distillation process occurring at the focal point of Epiphany’s concentrating solar power (CSP) dishes.

Epiphany’s product is designed to be modular, robust, and lightweight. To keep construction and manufacturing simple, Epiphany’s units utilize common off the shelf (COTS) components. These components can be sourced anywhere in the world, simplifying maintenance and routine service greatly. In fact, great care has been taken so that an Epiphany solar water system can be assembled by virtually anyone, anywhere on the planet, regardless of skill level. Installation time is designed to take under 1 hour and with more skilled labor can be done in as little as 30 minutes. Epiphany’s product has a low total cost of ownership and will need only occasional cleaning to remove buildup of particulates within the distillation units. This is a simple process that can be done by anyone with standard, easily accessible maintenance tools, such as a wire brush.



Epiphany targets international markets in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. According to the World Health Organization, more than 2 billion people in the world live without access to adequate clean water, and that number is expected to more than double by 2025. As rapidly developing countries like India and China are adding millions to the ranks of the middle class each year, their existing water and power infrastructure struggles to keep pace. This problem becomes especially acute in the developing world when one considers that a large part of the population live in rural areas, far away from any type of formal water infrastructure. 

Desalination is a viable solution but conventional desalination technologies, such as Reverse Osmosis and Multi Effect Distillation, are expensive, energy intensive, and unsustainable.  Furthermore, due to the centralized nature of conventional desalination plants, immense infrastructure projects are required to provide energy to the desalination plants and to distribute the clean water to consumers.

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