Henry Glogau’s Solar Desalination Skylight provides free lighting and drinking water

A New Zeland-based designer Henry Glogau has developed Solar Desalination Skylight, a device that uses seawater to create natural ambient light, drinking water, and generates energy from the remaining sea salt.

Glogau’s Solar Desalination Skylight is the finalist of the Lexus Design Award 2021, a competition dedicated to empowering humans to make good things for the future of humanity and the planet. Projects that are finalized and awarded are determined by their positive impact on human society.

Henry Glogau's Solar Desalination Skylight provides free lighting and drinking water.
It utilizes leftover salt brine for energy creation. Credit: Henry Glogau/Discover Lexus

The new Skylight aligns perfectly with the awards’ principles of designing and engineering a better future. It could be very useful to provide basic services for homes in shantytowns.

The Solar Desalination Skylight works by evaporating seawater via free and abundant solar energy. During the day, seawater is fed through a pipe into the bowl-shaped Skylight, where the energy of the sun is used to light homes at night and distill the salty seawater into drinking water. The device owner can then use a tap at the Skylight base to extract drinking water. The leftover salt brine is responsible for generating an electric charge to power a diffused light during the night.

Glogau’s design is a cheap, practical solution that makes use of abundant resources to solve basic issues faced by the people in places like Antofagasta, Chile.

Other finalists of the Lexus Design Award 2021 include an infinitely reusable and rearrangeable cytologically-inspired packaging material, a terracotta evaporative cooling system that cools subway stations during summer and reduces energy consumption, and more.

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