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Water Purification. William Petterson & Wyatt McClure. Introduction. Bio gas and water purification Significant in disasters Significant in third world countries Energy efficient Burns clean. Introduction. Inexpensive and portable Provides more water to a growing population

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water purification

Water Purification

William Petterson & Wyatt McClure


Bio gas and water purification

Significant in disasters

Significant in third world countries

Energy efficient

Burns clean


Inexpensive and portable

Provides more water to a growing population

Reduces disease prominence

Decreases the number of deaths due to dehydration


People need access to clean water in the world that is safe for drinking.

About one out of five people in third world countries have access to clean water.

Water born diseases account for 10,000 to 15,000 deaths per year.




Prevention of waterborne diseases like diarrheal infections such as cholera and other diseases like arsenic poisoning.

review of literature distillation
Review of Literature:Distillation

To distill water you heat the solution to the temperature at which water boils.

When the water boils any pollutants in the water separates from the vapor.

The condensing water that is collected in the separate vat is then pure and ready to drink.

Dialysis fluid purity “Water purification” (July 2002)

review of literature filtration
Review of Literature:Filtration

Rids the water of particulates and some organisms.

Forces water through a porous material that varies in size.

The smaller pores capture smaller particles or organisms.

Filter commonly found on or in taps.

The porous material must be replaced regularly.

Dialysis fluid purity “Water purification” (July 2002)

review of literature bio gas
Review of Literature:Bio Gas

Generated from decaying organic material.

Bacteria produce hydrocarbons (natural gas) when separated from oxygen.

Produces 600 BTU of energy per cubic foot.

Habmigern 2003

review of literature methane
Review of Literature:Methane
  • Tetrahedral structure
  • CH4
  • 75% of natural gas and 55-60% of biogas
  • Odorless, colorless, and non-toxic
  • Explosive when in 5-15% concentration
  • Commonly found in reservoirs underground
  • Animals produce 15% of the worlds methane
  • Shahashiri 2008



It was hypothesized that the pH of the clean water will be closer to 7 than the dirty water, that the ratio of dirty water to clean water will be about 8:7, that the contents of the clean water will contain close to 0ppm of chemicals and pollutants, and that it will take 1.5 hours of burning biogas to distill 2 gallons of dirty water completely.

Process of distillation purifies in this way as an industrialized design using more accessible materials on smaller scale.

How hot methane- most of biogas, burns: 333˚C; compared to boiling point of water: 100˚C


The blueprints for the assembly.


We set up the wooden stand with the burner on it using duct tape.

We drilled 1” diameter holes in the tops of cooler and 6 gallon bucket.

We attached the PVC piping to each of the holes and set the 6 gallon bucket on top of the burner stand


The blueprints for the assembly.

  • We connected the tubing from the biogas to the burner.
  • There was not enough biogas, so we augmented it with propane.


We put two gallons of water per test in the dirty water bucket from the tap.

To dirty it we added 4 cups of either Drano OR lemon juice as well as 1 cup of dirt.

We then tested the pH, nitrate content, phosphate content and alkalinity of the dirty water and recorded the results.

We turned on the burner after the purifier is set up.

We set a timer and let the water completely boil off.


We had to check frequently to tell when the water was all gone, and recorded the amount of time when the water had completely boiled off.

We tested the pH, nitrate content, phosphate content and alkalinity of the clean water as well as the amount of soil content and recorded them.

  • The design was flawed
  • Materials were not durable
  • Water tight sealants were not heat resistant
  • The sealants melted and became compromised

Device produced some clean water

Design proved capable (industrialized design)

Proved to be efficient with the flame based fuel

Materials were cost effective including building

  • Over all the design was solid, but not the materials
  • Make sure fuel supply is sufficient enough for use
  • Replace PVC with copper piping
  • Replace caulking with solder

Research can not be considered a failure

Proved that easily accessible materials could work

Proved that the design of the purifier was economical

Provided information on what materials are suited for the necessary conditions


Experiment was designed to test efficiency of a water distiller fueled by biogas.

Results inconclusive, as almost no data was collected because the trials were aborted based on material failure and danger.

The idea would help many when put with a biogas digester, as it would provide clean, pure water.

Unfortunately the purifier was not made of strong enough materials to hold up to the heat produced from the burner.


It is concluded that stronger materials should be used to create the purifier.

The cost would go up, however, decreasing the ease of installing it.

A water distiller powered by combustion of hydrocarbons is not a practical way to produce pure water.


Nicholas True, Mentor

Noble Energy, The Adolph Coors Foundation; sponsors

The FSI staff and program

UNC, hosts of the FSI program

UNC’s geosciences laboratory for lending us some propane

All sponsors of the FSI program

Parents, for encouraging us to go here


Schultz, C. C. (2004). Water purification. PM Engineer, 10(11), 47-47-48,51,62. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/203663591?accountid=12832

  Biogas production. (n.d.). Retrieved June 22, 2011, from http://www.habmigern2003.info/biogas/methane-digester.html

Shakhashiri, B, & Schreiner, R. (2008). Methane. Access science. Retrieved June 21, 2011, from http://www.accessscience.com/content.aspx?id=421200&aid=2888

Zhao, K, Cui, D, Xu, T, Zhou, Q, & Hui, S. (2008). Effects of hydrogen addition on methane combustion. Fuel processing Technology, 89(11), Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.source.unco.edu

Sampathkumar, K, Arjunan, T, Pitchandi, P, & Senthilkumar, P. (2010). Active solar distillation- a detailed review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 14(6), Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.source.unco.edu

anthony, J. (2007). Drinking water for the third world. Journal of the American Planning Association, 73(2), Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01944360708976155

Plate, D, Strassman, B, & Wilson, M. (2004). Water sources are associated with childhood diarrhoea. Tropical Medicine and International Health, 9(3), Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.source.unco.edu


Appendix: Water purification methods. (2002, July). Dialysis fluid purity, 17(doi: 10.1093/ndt/17.suppl_7.54 ), 54-61.