Water, water, everywhere, now finally a drop to drink!


    Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink. (1798 English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner) We live in a strange world, such as this. 70% of our planet is covered with water we cant drink. How can we fix that process with another contrast, use pressure to produce vacuum? Why not? Dont we use heat to produce cold, in a camping refrigerator?

    A jet pump (often called an ejector) does exactly that. High pressure water or air is converted to high speed, low pressure in a nozzle. Placed in a correctly-shaped housing, it makes a vacuum by sucking in air, water and whatever, then expands it all to produce high pressure water and air in its output. Cool huh!

    Why would you want to do that? To make lots of fresh water at sea of course!

    Finally, well can make, Fresh water, water, everywhere, with lots of it to drink, and sell, and water our flowers and pigs on our floating island.

    Cool huh!

    Clouds form from distilled fresh water that evaporates from the salty sea. Whats the difference? Clouds are usually at high altitude. Whats different up there from down here?

    Air pressure! If youve ever tried to boil water over your campfire up in the mountains at high elevation, you quickly discover that your coffee boils, but doesnt get hot. Another contrast.

    Did you ever look at an old fashioned mercury barometer? Whats above the mercury in the sealed glass column? Vacuum you say. Not quite. Its mercury vapor, even if you have trouble seeing it.

    What if we did the same thing with water? We make a sealed column of inexpensive 4-inch thinwall PVC sewer pipe. New of course. That is, we glue it all together, in a straight line, so it doesnt leak, then stand it on end. We seal the top with a screw-in cap. So we can take it off when we need to. {See the illustration}

    The difference is that water is light, while mercury is heavy, so our vertical column pipe needs to be about 40 feet long. At sea level, seawater will only rise to about 30 feet, and the left over space is for the high altitude portion above it. Thats cool, because they sell this thinwall pipe in 10 foot sections, and 4 of them arent too expensive, along with a can of glue, so we can glue them all together.

    On the bottom we have a valve that we can open and close. A ball valve like you can buy at most hardware stores is a good choice. {not illustrated,}

    We set the bottom of our column in a bucket and fill the pipe from the top with water, naturally with the lower valve closed, or else well just dump the water out the bottom, into the bucket, and all over the floor.

    When the pipe is quite full, we screw closed and seal the top. We may even have to use some soft wax to get it to seal tight. A good choice is the soft wax used as a toilet bowl seal. You can also get that at your local hardware store.

    Now when you open the lower valve out comes some of the water, but not all of it. What youve created is a column still. The oil industry uses column stills all the time. Those are the vertical pipes you see sticking up at an oil refinery. But the one we make is for water.

    At the top, like the mercury barometer, we have very low pressure gas, a combination of air from the water and water vapor. You might say, Weve made our own cloud in a sewer pipe.
Cool huh!

    But how do we get that fresh distilled water out?

    In this configuration, we can only look at it?

    Thats where the jet pump comes in. {Now see the illustration.} But we make sure that it will fit easily into our 4-inch column pipe. So, select a small pump with its needed hook-up pipe, elbows and so on. A top T and reducers may be used to bring the power pressure pipe, probably to 1 inch to the exterior. We only need the jet pump and its output pipe inside with the input seawater in the column. Ill explain why below.

    Actually, if you want. You could get a 4-inch cross connector rather than a T. The other side can be sealed with a peace of clear Plexiglas, glued in tight so you can see what goes on in there. Most of the time you wont see much, but it may help if there is trouble. A little mirror may be put inside so you can see what the seawater level is. {not illustrated}

    Weve also plumbed in the jet pump. It has two inputs and one output. Try to find a plastic one, because they are easier to glue inexpensive plastic pipe to. We dont need a metal one unless its all we can find. Then we have to get all the plastic fittings, so we can plumb it, yet it all has to fit inside our 4-inch column pipe.

    One input is plumbed so it sucks in air and water vapor from the top of the plastic column. The other input is pressurized fluid that runs the pump, connected to the nozzle input. That pipe is the one that goes to the outside of the column.

    When the water vapor is sucked in and pressurized by the jet pump, it condenses. In doing so, it gives up a lot of heat. We dont want to waste that latent heat, but recycle it.

    But, where did it come from in the first place? It came from the top part of the water in our column. That water got colder in the process of evaporation. So, why not warm it up? After all, when you wash your hands, doesnt the evaporating water cool your hands?

    So, we locate (when plumbing) the jet pump, and its entire output pipe, inside the vertical plastic column. When the water condenses in the output of the jet pump, it gives off heat, which migrates into the cooer input water in the main column. Thus, recycling its heat within the whole system.
Cool huh!

    Ya, it is. In fact youll find that it operates at about room temperature or below. Now thats unusual for a manmade concoction, and efficient too. Clouds are smart enough to use it. It works ok for them.

    We can use thinwall plastic pipe in this output too, thus this latent heat from condensation can easily migrate into the cooler seawater on its other side. Whats more, it has 30 feet to do it.

    When all is running, heat from the jet pump output boils water in the main column, producing more steam, or water vapor that bubbles to the top part of the column, but without any salt from the seawater input. This separation makes the salt water in the main column heavier. So, you provide a smaller seawater input pipe, say a -inch one, that goes up into the column about 30-feet from the bottom, to deliver new seawater into the still. While the main column exits salty brine out into its bucket.

    If you locate the jet pump with its plumbing just above this, one plumbing shouldnt get in the way of the other.

    You may wish to have this input pipe with an outside bucket of its own, if you operate the still by hand. Youll want it above the columns bucket, because water will flow downhill from the seawater input to the brine output, even though it goes up into the column in the process.

    Next, we need power for our jet pump. You have a variety of choices. One is a windmill. In my free eBook,
Save the Planet, while making a profit, it shows a vertical axis Floppy Mill (also shown below,) so you dont have to worry about which direction the wind comes from, and it has many other advantages besides being more efficient than the other kinds too. Its output rotating shaft is connected to a water pump. A piston or gear type is best here, because the wind may not be bowing much, so the Floppy Mills output may not turn fast enough for a centrifugal pump. But it will provide plenty of pressurized distilled water to run your jet pump. If the wind tends to stop when you need it most, where youre at, put a water tower in the middle so it stores energy as high-up water, for when you need the water to run your jet pump.

Floppy Mill

    Since the fresh water you drink also comes from this output, you may want to connect an output pipe and spicket or drinking fountain from this tank.

    Yes, you take the pumps input water from the distilled output bucket, so that you do not just mix saltwater back into your fresh distilled output. Theres also the possibility of using compressed air to power the jet pump. Try it. It may also make the distilled water taste better by aerating it.

    The pump takes in distilled water (or air,) pressurizes it, and runs the jet pump. This may all seem too complex. But dont you do the same thing when putting a jet pump in a well? What do you get? Plenty of well water, right?

    We dont know much about where you get your seawater input. So have your output, after its run a bit, tested at your local water company for any biologicals that may have made it through. Some of them are really tough.

    If you have problems, or comments, please write me through my new website:

    Well, now you get plenty of fresh distilled water from the sea! And once its built, it doesnt cost you a dime to have, Water, water, everywhere, with plenty of fresh water to drink.

    Thanks for your interest.

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