Found this article this AM on Pacific Islands Report. It is important for two reasons. The first is obvious - the desalination stills provide pure, fresh, drinking water to the outer islands without the need for electricity, just using the power of the sun.

The second depends on whether there is a way to recover the byproduct of the desalination without damaging the still. Imagine producing fresh water (the article doesn't say how much can be produced each day by one still, but one would hope that it would be more than a couple of gallons), and having as a leftover by-product PURE SEA SALT. The people of the outer islands would not only have a source of fresh water, but would also never have to buy salt again! Not only that, but pure sea salt (if the source is not contaminated by polutants) is a valuable product. Produced in sufficient quantities, it can actually be exported, and sold, producing MONI!

Enjoy the article, and think about the possibilities!

Rotarians sponsor installation of 400 units

By Jude Lizama

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 3, 2009) –ROTARIANS from Guam and Japan have teamed up to install solar water stills in Micronesian atolls, where residents constantly experience water shortages.

Residents of these areas typically depend on rooftop rain catchments for their water supply, but prolonged droughts associated with El Niño exhaust household storage, leaving residents dependent on groundwater or imported water.

Bill Hagen of Hagens Inc. said the Rotarians’ goal was to provide low-cost, easy maintenance water stills that use heat and evaporation to convert saltwater to fresh drinking water.

A Japanese Rotarian who is an engineer ordered his company in Shanghai to construct a mold for the basic polystyrene component of the desalination still.

"They have developed a solar still which will transform sea water into fresh drinking water. The distillation of sea water to fresh water is not new nor is the use of the sun for that purpose; but the challenge was to make units small enough to be easily transported by hand," Hagen explained.

The solar still is a 3’ x 4’ black box 12 inches deep that draws heat from the sun which causes the evaporation of the saltwater and the condensation of potable water droplets onto a glass element of the still.

The Shanghai facility loaded a 20-foot container with 400 base units, glass panels and small hardware; the lot was shipped to the Rotary Club of Pohnpei. Pacific Missionary Aviation, which has long-served the people of the region, delivered the cargo on the 110’ Sea Haven.

On Aug. 15, the Sea Haven made its way to Weno, Chuuk to deliver 40 stills to Murillao, located 100 miles northeast of Truk Lagoon in the Hall Islands.

Hagen explained that there are no docks or harbors on the outer islands so the stills had to be off-loaded in deep water into smaller boats, which take the cargo to the shore. "Fortunately everything was delivered safely," he said.

With the stills safely on shore, the Rotarians began assembling the solar still systems. Hagen said 400 stills had been delivered to 16 outer islands in Chuuk from Aug. 17 to 29.

Hagen said extending assistance to the inhabitants of the outer islands of Yap and several remote Pohnpei islands are currently being considered as future goals.

"There is no transportation system in the Federated States of Micronesia. Once a year there may be a ship from the government, but it is not dependable," Hagen said. "The islanders use 20-foot open fiberglass boats with outboard motors to travel between islands and to travel to Weno for supplies, when they can get gas. Every year someone gets lost at sea."

Hagen, who was on site for the entirety of the project, as accompanied by Mitsuhiko Sakamoto, past president, Rotary Club of Tokyo Ohi; Isako Funaki, past ADG for Kehin Group; and Noel Boylan, president of the Rotary Club of Pohnpei.

Daichi Abe, a student and friend of Funaki, was also on hand to participate in the Rotary water project."


  • Amen to that SAREM- this could create a multitude of opps for everyone, not only in our Chuuk, but the entire FSM. Let's hope for the best
  • window glass over slightly tilted basin will work too, but we prefer bottled american mountain spring water.
  • do they come with warrantys? do they come with maintenance kit?...
    just a positive negitive...
  • hanky:

    Gifts probably do not have warranties. But no part of the system is breakable, except the glass panel. If that breaks, the entire system is useless, so one would hope that the people charged with using these gifts would be very protective of the glass.

    In case how these wonders work is confusing, it is actually fairly simple. The device is basically a box, made of black polystyrene (plastic), with a slanted glass panel which becomes the top. There is a tube probably where the condensed water flows out to be caught in a bucket, or plastic bottle, or other container.

    Ocean water is put in the box, the glass panel is put in place, and the sun does the rest. The heat of the sun, absorbed by the black box, causes the sea water to evaporate and rise to the glass panel, where it condenses into pure drinking water, and flows out (because of the incline) into the waiting container. What is left is pure (as long as the source seawater was unpolluted) sea salt, which sells in stores in the US for about $2 per pound for the cheap stuff at Giant. Gourmet sea salt sells for up to $5 per pound or more.

    Even if it were not exported, it could replace imported salt. Sea salt is actually better for humans, because it is not as strong or intense as salt from land. In addition to the salt, an enterprising entrepreneur could work with the Chinese manufacturer to set up a plant in Micronesia, and to manufacture these stills for sale all over the islands. A win-win situation!
  • Sarem Chuuk:

    Thank you. Is this (box/machine) readily available on the market for purchase? I would like to look into this for my relatives back in Polowat. Kinisou.
  • TroYork:

    I don't know if it is commercially available. The best people to contact are the Rotary Club in Weno. Either that, or print the article at the top of this thread and contact your local Rotary Club. Any Rotary Club should be able to make contact with either the Guam Rotary Club or Japan Rotary Club and get more information. As you can see, it was the Guam and Japan Rotary Clubs which arranged for the manufacture of the first 400 distillation units to be delivered.

    Good luck!
  • Sarem Chuuk:

    Thank you very much for prompt respond, I appreciate it. I will try look into this, it's sounds so promising for our remote islands in Chuuk State, as well as the entire FSM. Hope, they do encourage the maker to have it readily available for commercial use in the very near future. Kinisou Sefan and have a nice day.
  • oops! meant to say "response"
  • I hope those solar water stills were not meanuverd and politically delivered to the northwest region. I m afraid Edwin (Nephew of Former Senator Moses Nelson) from sea heaven may decieved and missquide the people from the northwest region that these product are the courtesy of His uncle to help him re-elected.
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