Editorial Feature

Combining Rainwater Collection and Solar Power with the Photoflow

The Photoflow is made up of eight solar panels and positoned in an octagonal shape.

Many developing countries suffer from a lack of electricity and clean, potable water. However, one thing they do have is an abundance of rain and sunlight due to being located near to equator.

Design company NOS, based in Mexico City, have developed an innovative technology that combines solar energy and rainwater harvesting.

The Photoflow is made up of eight identical triangular photovoltaic modules mounted on top of commercial or custom water tanks.

Each of these modules are monocrystalline silicon solar cells covered with an antireflective adhesive protecting the photovoltaic semiconductor minimizing light loss due to reflection.

Integrated with N-type and P-type silicon layers, the outer layer is a Nano repellent film that prevents light obstruction from dirt or dust.

Even though the assembly looks simple the Photoflow is covered with coatings to protect the solar cells and to control bacteria and fungi from the water.

In terms of generating solar power it is assumed that the Photoflow could generate 340 kWh.

This Octagon shaped device is positioned at a slope of three degrees allowing rainwater to be collected into the water tank.

The water tank is made up of recycled polyethylene through rotational molding with a 400-liter capacity. Inside the tank there is a layer that is covered by a coating, which controls the formation of bacteria allowing the water to be drinkable.

With NOS looking for funding so the Photoflow can be mass produced for developing countries, combining solar energy collection and rainwater harvesting and placing each unit on top of rooftops could really be of benefit to developing countries.

Image Credit: NOS
Further Reading: NOS

The Photoflow Solar and Rainwater Collector

Solar cells are made up of 1st generation mono crystalline silicon solar cells covered in an antireflective adhesive, nano-repellent and integrated N-Type and P-Type silcon layers.
NOS are looking for funding which would allow the distribution of Photoflow's to developing countries.
With the solar cells sloped at a three degree angle, water is collected through to a filter made up of recycled polyethylene with an inner coating controlling bacteria and fungi.
Many developing countries have a shortage of electricity but not of sunlight and rain therefore, the Photoflow is a technology that could really be of use.
The Photoflow not only has the capabilities of powering somebodies home but also has a 400 liter tank to collect potable water.
The Photoflow could go on every rooftop and not look out of place.
Kris Walker

Written by

Kris Walker

Kris has a BA(hons) in Media & Performance from the University of Salford. Aside from overseeing the editorial and video teams, Kris can be found in far flung corners of the world capturing the story behind the science on behalf of our clients. Outside of work, Kris is finally seeing a return on 25 years of hurt supporting Manchester City.


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  1. C C Terminator C C Terminator Mexico says:

    Great idea but too expensive - can easily be redesigned with 2x 150watt thin film panels to channel water.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoCleantech.com.

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