Document Type : Review Paper


Electromechanical Engineering Dept., University of Technology-Iraq, Alsina’a street, 10066 Baghdad, Iraq.


Despite water covering more than two-thirds of the planet, improving potable water production technologies is a significant issue because of the increased demand for treated water. Solar desalination presents a simple, costless energy and friendly technology which utilizes solar energy and gives great incentive to decrease pollution effects produced by burning fossil fuels. In order to address the global drinking water shortage, particularly in rural and distant locations, this technique can be employed to give pure water to people using a solar still, which in many respects, is one of the most significant feasible uses of solar energy and perfect source of fresh water. However, due to the low productivity of conventional solar still, numerous experiments have been done to increase the daily output of solar stills by employing numerous active strategies to produce far more evaporation and condensation than a simple standard-type distiller. This work highlights the recent methods used for enhancing water productivity and their roles in augmentation productivity, performance, and thermal effectiveness of various solar distiller designs based on previous studies. Future suggestions based on identified research needs were made. This review is considered a reference guide to focus on the most efficient techniques.

Graphical Abstract


  • A summary of the many variables influencing the performance of different solar still designs is given
  • Solar radiation is the aspect that most affects how well solar stills work
  • A potential research agenda is presented for solar distillers


Main Subjects

  1. N.,world Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision, 2019. 
  2. H. Al-Fatlawi, M. Karrabi, G. Abukhanafer , A. AL Samlan, Removal of nitrate from contaminated groundwater using Solar membrane distillation, Eng. Technol. J., 37C (2019).  
  3. A.Eidan , A. AlSahlani , A. Q. Ahmed , M. Al-fahham , J. M. Jalil, Improving the performance of heat pipe-evacuated tube solar collector experimentally by using Al2O3 and CuO/acetone nanofluids, Sol. Energy, 173 (2018) 780-788.
  4. H. Alawee, H. A. Dhahad , T.A. Mohamed, An experimental study on improving the performance of a double slope solar still. In The 7th International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food, Energy Ind. Reg. Global Context, ICSAFEI, 2015.
  5. M.Shalaby, E. El-Bialy , A. A. El-Sebaii, An experimental investigation of a v-corrugated absorber single-basin solar still using PCM, Desalination, 398 (2016) 247-255.                                  
  6. Sharon, K. S.Reddy, A review of solar energy driven desalination technologies, Renewable Sustainable Energy Rev., 41 (2015). 1080-1118. 
  7. V. Kumar, R.Kasturi Bai, Performance study on solar still with enhanced condensation, Desalination,  230 (2008) 51-61.
  8. P. Davim, Modern mechanical engineering, Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, (2014). 
  9. M.El-Maghlany, An approach to optimization of double slope solar still geometry for maximum collected solar energy, Alexandria Eng. J., 54 (2015). 823-828. 
  10. S.Nafey, M.Abdelkader, A. Abdelmotalip, A. A. Mabrouk, Parameters affecting solar still productivity,  Energy Convers. Manage., 41 (2000) 1797-1809. 
  11. K.Singh, G. N.Tiwari , P. B. Sharma, Emran Khan, Optimization of orientation for higher yield of solar still for a given location, Energy Convers. Manage., 36 (1995) 175-181. 
  12. G. HarrisP. K. NagarajanT. ArunkumarE. KannanR. Sathyamurthy, Enhancing the solar still yield by increasing the surface area of water-A review, Environ. Prog. Sustainable Energy, 35 (2016) 815-822.
  13. Abdallah, O. O. Badran, Sun tracking system for productivity enhancement of solar still, Desalination, 220 (2008) 669-676. 
  14. Shoeibi, H. Kargarsharifabad, N. Rahbar, G. Khosravi, An integrated solar desalination with evacuated tube heat pipe solar collector and new wind ventilator external condenser, Sustainable Energy Technol. Assess., 50 (2022) 101857.
  15. N.Shoeibi, S. A. Mirjalily, H.Kargarsharifabad, M. Khiadani, H. Panchal, A comprehensive review on performance improvement of solar desalination with applications of heat pipes, Desalination, 540 (2022) 115983.
  16. Shoeibi, S. A. Mirjalily H. Kargarsharifabad,H. PanchalR. Dhivagar, Comparative study of double-slope solar still, hemispherical solar still, and tubular solar still using Al2O3/water film cooling: a numerical study and CO2 mitigation analysis, Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res., 29 (2022) 65353-65369.
  17. Shoeibi, M.Saemian, M.Khiadani, H. Kargarsharifabad, S.A. Agha, Influence of PV/T waste heat on water productivity and electricity generation of solar stills using heat pipes and thermoelectric generator: An experimental study and environmental analysis, Energy Convers. Manage., 276 (2023) 116504.  
  18. ShoeibiN. RahbarA. A. Esfahlani& H. Kargarsharifabad, Energy matrices, economic and environmental analysis of thermoelectric solar desalination using cooling fan,  J. Therm. Anal. Calorim., 147 (2022) 9645-9660.
  19. S.B. Jahromi, V. Kalantar, H.S.Akhijahani, H. Kargarsharifabad, Recent progress on solar cabinet dryers for agricultural products equipped with energy storage using phase change materials, J. Energy Storage, 51 (2022) 104434.
  20. K.Patel, D.Singh, G.L. Devnani , S. Sinha and  D. Singh, Potable water production via desalination technique using solar still integrated with partial cooling coil condenser, Sustainable Energy Technol. Assess., 43 (2021) 100927.
  21. H.Abed, H.A.Hoshi and M. H. Jabal ,Experimental investigation of modified solar still coupled with high-frequency ultrasonic vaporizer and phase change material capsules, Case Stud. Therm. Eng., 28 (2021) 101531.
  22. Ghandourah, H.Panchal, O.Fallatah, H.M. Ahmed, E.B. Moustafa and A.H. Elsheikh, Performance enhancement and economic analysis of pyramid solar still with corrugated absorber plate and conventional solar still: A case study, Case Stud. Therm. Eng., 35 (2022) 101966.
  23. E.Kabeel, K.Harby, M. Abdelgaied and A. Eisa, Performance of the modified tubular solar still integrated with cylindrical parabolic concentrators, Sol. Energy, 204 (2020) 181-189.
  24. M.Omara, W. H.Alawee, S.A. Mohammed, H. A. Dhahad, A. S. Abdullah and  F. A. Essa , Experimental study on the performance of pyramid solar still with novel convex and dish absorbers and wick materials, J. Cleaner Prod., 373 (2022) 133835.
  25. M. SivaramS. D. Kumar,M. PremalathaT. Sivasankarand  A. Arunagiri, Experimental and numerical study of stepped solar still integrated with a passive external condenser and its application, Environ. Dev. Sustainability, 23 (2021) 2143-2171.
  26. Taamneh, M. M. Taamneh, Performance of pyramid-shaped solar still: Experimental study, Desalination, 291 (2021) 65-68.
  27. A. Forster Rajand S. J. Sekhar , Investigation of energy and exergy performance on a small-scale refrigeration system with PCMs inserted between coil and wall of the evaporator cabin, J. Therm. Anal. Calorim., 136 (2019) 355-365. 
  28. J. Akeiber,S. E. Hosseini, M. A. Wahid, H. M. Hussen and A.T. Mohammad, Phase change materials-assisted heat flux reduction: Experiment and numerical analysis, Energies, 9 (2016) 30. 
  29. Sarbu and C. Sebarchievici, A comprehensive review of thermal energy storage, Sustainability, 10 (2018) 191. 
  30. Panchal and P. K. Shah, Investigation on solar stills having floating plates, Int. J. Energy Environ. Eng., 3 (2012) 1-5. 
  31. K.Srivastavaand S. K. Agrawal,  Experimental and theoretical analysis of single sloped basin type solar still consisting of multiple low thermal inertia floating porous absorbers,  Desalination, 311 (2013) 198-205.  
  32. M. Younes , A.S. Abdullah , F.A. Essa , Z.M. Omara , M.I. Amro , Enhancing the wick solar still performance using half barrel and corrugated absorbers, Process Saf. Environ. Prot., 150 (2021) 440-452 
  33. Nehar, T. Rahman, S. S. Tuly, M. S. Rahman, M. R. I. Sarker and M. R. A. Beg, Thermal performance analysis of a solar still with different absorber plates and external copper condenser, Groundwater Sustainable Dev., 17 (2022) 100763. 
  34. K. Matrawy, A. S. Alosaimy and A. F. Mahrous, Modeling and experimental study of a corrugated wick type solar still: comparative study with a simple basin type, Energy Convers. Manage., 105 (2015) 1261-1268. 
  35. E. Kabeel and M. Abdelgaied, Enhancement of pyramid-shaped solar stills performance using a high thermal conductivity absorber plate and cooling the glass cover, Renewable Energy, 146 (2020) 769-775. 
  36. K. Kaviti, V. R. Naike, A. S. Ram, S. Hussain and A. A. Kumari, Energy and exergy analysis of double slope solar still with aluminium truncated conic fins, Mater. Today Proc., 45 (2021) 5387-5394 
  37. E.Kabeel, W.M. El-Maghlany , M. Abdelgaied and M.M. Abdel-Aziz, Performance enhancement of pyramid-shaped solar stills using hollow circular fins and phase change materials, J. Energy Storage, 31 (2020) 101610. 
  38. M.Alaian, E.A.Elnegiry, A.M. Hamed, Experimental investigation on the performance of solar still augmented with pin-finned wick, Desalination, 379 (2016) 10-15. 
  39. K.Sonker, J. P. Chakraborty, A. Sarkar , R. K. Singh, Solar distillation using three different phase change materials stored in a copper cylinder, Energy Rep., 5 (2019) 1532-1542. 
  40. E.Kabeel , R.Sathyamurthy, A. M.Manokar, S.W. Sharshir, F.A. Essa, A.H. Elshiekh, Experimental study on tubular solar still using Graphene Oxide Nano particles in Phase Change Material (NPCM's) for fresh water production,  J. Energy Storage, 28 (2020) 101204.                                                                    
  41. Hedayati-Mehdiabadi, F.Sarhaddi, F. Sobhnamayan, Exergy performance evaluation of a basin-type double-slope solar still equipped with phase-change material and PV/T collector, Renewable Energy, 145 (2020) 2409-2425. 
  42. Abu-Arabi, M.Al-harahsheh , M. Ahmad and M. Hasan, Theoretical modeling of a glass-cooled solar still incorporating PCM and coupled to flat plate solar collector, J. Energy Storage, 29 (2020) 101372. 
  43. A.Eidan, S. E.Najim and J. M. Jalil , An experimental and a numerical investigation of HVAC system using thermosyphon heat exchangers for sub-tropical climates,  Appl. Therm. Eng., 114 (2017) 693-703.
  44. A. Aboud, H.A. Hussein and A. H. Numan , Effect of Temperature and Humidity Factors on Water Production Using Solar Energy with Smart Controlling,  Eng.Technol. J., 40 (2022) 241-248.  
  45. Bhargva, M.Sharma, A.Yadav, N. K.l Batra and R.K. Behl, Productivity Augmentation of a Solar Still with Rectangular Fins and Bamboo Cotton Wick, J. Solar Energy Res., 8 (2023) 1410-1416.
  46. Karthikeyan, and A.Natarajan., Factors influencing the performance and productivity of solar stills-A review,  Desalination, 435 (2018) 181-187. 
  47. M.Jalil, H.S. Mahdi , A.S. Allawy, Cooling performance investigation of PCM integrated into heat sink with nano particles addition,  J. Energy Storage, 55 (2022) 105466.
  48. M.Abbas, J.M. Jalil, S. T. Ahmed, Experimental and numerical investigation of PCM capsules as insulation materials inserted into a hollow brick wall, Energy Build.,  246 (2021) 111127.
  49. M.Salih, J.M.Jalil , S.E. Najim, Experimental and numerical analysis of double-pass solar air heater utilizing multiple capsules PCM, Renewable Energy, 143  (2019) 1053-1066.
  50. M Abbas , J. M Jalil and S. T Ahmed, Experimental Investigation of Phase Change Material as an Insulator in Hollow Brick Wall, IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng. IOP, 1094 (2021) 012065. 
  51. M. Abbas, J.M. Jalil, S. T. Ahmed, Numerical investigation of using PCM with and without nano addition as insulation material in a hollow brick wall, AIP Conf. Proc., 2386, 080018.
  52. M. Jaliland S. M. Salih, The optimum thickness of paraffin wax insulator filling a double glazed window, IOP Conf. Ser.: Mat. Sci. Eng.,765 (2020) 012022. 
  53. Elashmawy, M.Alhadri, Mohamed M.Z. Ahmed, Enhancing tubular solar still performance using novel PCM-tubes, Desalination, 500 (2021) 114880. 
  54. Srinivas, G. AVSSKS, Influence of Operating Parameters on Pyramid Solar Still with Phase Change Material (PCM),  Int. J. Renewable Energy Res., 11 ( 2021) 1338-1353. 
  55. H. Alawee, S.A. Mohammed, H. A. Dhahad , F.A. Essa, Z.M. Omara, A.S. Abdullah,Performance analysis of a double-slope solar still with elevated basin—comprehensive study,  Desalin. Water Treat., 223 (2021) 13-25. 
  56. E.Kabeel, M.A. Teamah, M. Abdelgaied , G. B. Abdel Aziz, Modified pyramid solar still with v-corrugated absorber plate and PCM as a thermal storage medium,  J. Cleaner Prod., 161 (2017) 881-887.
  57. E.Kabeel, G.B. Abdelaziz and E.M. El-Said, Experimental investigation of a solar still with composite material heat storage: energy, exergy and economic analysis, J. Cleaner Prod., 231 (2019) 21-.
  58. W.Sharshir, M.A.Omara, G.Elsisi , A. Joseph, A.W. Kandeal , A. Ali , G. Bedair, Thermo-economic performance improvement of hemispherical solar still using wick material with V-corrugated basin and two different energy storage materials,  Sol. Energy, 249 (2023) 336-352.  
  59. Dhivagar, S. Shoeibi, S.M.Parsa , S.Hoseinzadeh , H. Kargarsharifabad and M. Khiadani, Performance evaluation of solar still using energy storage biomaterial with porous surface: An experimental study and environmental analysis,  Renewable Energy, 206 (2023) 879-889. 
  60. Jahanpanah, S.J.Sadatinejad, A.Kasaeian, M.H. Jahangir, H.Sarrafha,Experimental investigation of the effects of low-temperature phase change material on single-slope solar still,  Desalination, 499 (2021) 114799.
  61. Gholizadeha, A.Farzi, Performance improvement of the single slope solar still using sand. J. Sol. Energy Res., 5 (2020) 560-567.
  62. H. Rasheed, Solar Desalination by Using Phase Change Material (PCM), J. Mech. Eng. Res. Dev. 44 (2021) 240-248.
  63. J. Jaber, Q. A. Rishak and Q.A. Abed, Using PCM, an Experimental Study on Solar Stills Coupled with and without a Parabolic Trough Solar Collector, Basrah J. Eng. Sci., 21(2021) 45-52.
  64. S.A. Toosi, H.R.Goshayeshi and S. Zeinali, Experimental investigation of stepped solar still with phase change material and external condenser,  J. Energy Storage, 40  (2021) 102681.
  65. M.A.Saeed, D.M. Hachim and H. G. Hameed, Numerical investigation for single slope solar still performance with optimal amount of nano-PCM,  J. Adv. Res. Fluid Mech. Therm. Sci., 63 (2019) 302-316.
  66. Namshad, K. R. Ayush, K. C. Salih, A. James, S. Ahammed, H.Vayalilakath & P. U. Suneesh, Performance Analysis of Flat and Rippled Wick-Inverted V-Type Solar Still Integrated with Drip System in Kerala Climatic Conditions, Int. Scholarly Res. Notices, 2013.
  67. Sebastian, S.Thomas, Influence of providing a three-layer spectrally selective floating absorber on passive single slope solar still productivity under tropical conditions,  Energy, 214 (2019) 118848.
  68. S.Yousef, H. Hassan , S. Kodama, H. Sekiguchi , An experimental study on the performance of single slope solar still integrated with a PCM-based pin-finned heat sink, Energy Procedia, 156 (2019) 100-104.
  69. H. Alawee, H. A. Dhahad, T.A . Mohamed, An experimental study on improving the performance of a double slope solar still, The 7th Int. Conf. Sustainable Agric. Food, Energy Ind. Reg. Global Context, ICSAFEI., 2015.
  70. Bhattacharyya, Solar stills for desalination of water in rural households,  Int. J. Environ. Sustainability, 2 (2013).                                                  
  71. T.Mahdi, B.E.Smith , A.O. Sharif, An experimental wick-type solar still system: Design and construction, Desalination, 267 (2011) 233-238. 
  72. SamuelHansen, C. S.Narayanan, K. K. Murugavel, Performance analysis on inclined solar still with different new wick materials and wire mesh,  Desalination, 358 (2015) 1-8. 
  73. Sakthivel, S.Shanmugasundaram , T. Alwarsamy ,An experimental study on a regenerative solar still with energy storage medium—Jute cloth, Desalination, 264 (2010) 24-31. 
  74. Prakash , R.Jayaprakash and S. Kumar, Experimental analysis of pyramid wick-type solar still, Int. J. Sci. Eng. Res., 7 (2016) 1797-1804.
  75. Pal, P.Yadav, R. Dev, D. Singh, Performance analysis of modified basin type double slope multi–wick solar still, Desalination, 422 (2017) 68-82. 
  76. I.Dawood, J.M.Jalil, M. K. Ahmed, Investigation of a novel window solar air collector with 7-moveable absorber plates, Energy, 257 (2022) 124829.
  77. M. Salih , A.H. Jassim and J. M. Jalil, Numerical modelling and investigation of a wavy absorbent solar collector, AIP Conf. Proc., 2415, 020006, 2022.
  78. M. Jalil, M. K. Ahmedand Hussein A. Idan ,Experimental and Numerical Study of a New Corrugated and Packing Solar Collector, IOP Conf. Ser.: Mat. Sci. Eng., 765 , 012026, 2020.
  79. S.Abdullah, Z.M. Omara , F.A. Essa, M.M. Younes, S. Shanmugan, Mohamed Abdelgaied, M.I. Amro, A.E. Kabeel, W.M. Farouk, Improving the performance of trays solar still using wick corrugated absorber, nano-enhanced phase change material and photovoltaics-powered heaters, J. Energy Storage, 40 (2021) 102782. 
  80. U. Suneesh, J. Paul, R. Jayaprakash, S. Kumar & D. Denkenberger, Augmentation of distillate yield in “V”-type inclined wick solar still with cotton gauze cooling under regenerative effect, Cogent Eng., 3 (2016) 1202476.
  81. E.Kabeel, Performance of solar still with a concave wick evaporation surface, Energy, 34 (2009) 1504-1509.
  82. V.Modi, J.G. Modi, Performance of single-slope double-basin solar stills with small pile of wick materials, Appl. Therm. Eng., 149 (2019) 723-730. 
  83. Saravanan, M. Murugan, Performance evaluation of square pyramid solar still with various vertical wick materials–an experimental approach, Therm. Sci. Eng. Prog., 19 (2020) 100581. 
  84. W.Sharshir , M.A. Eltawil, A.M. Algazzar, R.Sathyamurthy , A.W. Kandeal, Performance enhancement of stepped double slope solar still by using nanoparticles and linen wicks: energy, exergy and economic analysis,  Appl. Therm. Eng., 174 (2020) 115278. 
  85. W. Sharshir, G. Peng, A. H. Elsheikh, M. A. Eltawil, M. R. Elkadeem,H. Dai and N.Yang, Influence of basin metals and novel wick-metal chips pad on the thermal performance of solar desalination process,  J. Cleaner Prod., 248 (2020) 119224. 
  86. W.Sharshir, G. Peng , A.H. Elsheikh , M.A. Eltawil, M.R. Elkadeem, H. Dai , J. Zang and N. Yang, Performance evaluation of single slope solar still augmented with sand-filled cotton bags, J. Energy Storage, 25 (2019) 100888. 
  87. K. Singh, C. Ramji, P. Ganeshan,V. Mohanavel, T. Balasundaram,V. Vignesh Kumar, B. Balasubramanian, P. Ramshankar, A. Ramesh,and S. Thanappan, Performance Analysis of Solar Still by Using Octagonal-Pyramid Shape in the Solar Desalination Techniques, Int. J. Photoenergy , 2023.
  88. Agrawal, R.S.Rana, Theoretical and experimental performance evaluation of single-slope single-basin solar still with multiple V-shaped floating wicks,  Heliyon, 5 (2019) e01525. 
  89. A.Essa, A.S. Abdullah ,Improving the performance of tubular solar still using rotating drum–Experimental and theoretical investigation,  Process Saf. Environ. Prot.,148 (2021) 579-589. 
  90. M. Ahmed & G. A. Ibrahim, Performance evaluation of a conventional solar still with different types and layouts of wick materials, Perform. Eval., 6 (2016). 
  91. Rajan, K. Mathappan, G.somamasundaram and S. Kumar, Design of Low Density Polyethylene Hemispherical with Wick Solar Still for Arid Regions. J. Arid Land Stud., 26 (2016), 107-110.
  92. Seralathan, G. C. Reddy, S. Sathish, A. Muthuram, J. A. Dhanraj, N. Lakshmaiya and C. Sirisamphanwong, Performance and exergy analysis of an inclined solar still with baffle arrangements, Heliyon, 9 (2023).
  93. W.Sharshir, Y.M.Ellakany and M.A. Eltawil, Exergoeconomic and environmental analysis of seawater desalination system augmented with nanoparticles and cotton hung pad, J. Cleaner Prod., 248 (2020) 119180. 
  94. W.Sharshir, M.R.Elkadeem and A. Meng, Performance enhancement of pyramid solar distiller using nanofluid integrated with v-corrugated absorber and wick: an experimental study,  Appl. Therm. Eng., 168 (2020) 114848. 
  95. S. Abdullah, Z. M. Omara, H. B. Bacha and M. M.Younes, Employing convex shape absorber for enhancing the performance of solar still desalination system,  J. Energy Storage, 47 (2022) 103573. 
  96. S. Hansen, C. S.Narayanan and K. K.Murugavel, Performance analysis on inclined solar still with different new wick materials and wire mesh, Desalination, 358 (2015) 1-8. 
  97. A. Hammoodi, H. A. Dhahad, W. H. Alawee, Z. M. Omara , F. A. Essa, A. S. Abdullah, M. I. Amro, Effects of Magnetic Field on the Performance of Solar Distillers: A Review Study, Eng. Technol. J., 40 (2023) 121-131. 
  98. H. S. AL-Zaedy, Experimental Study on Enhancement of Single-Basin Solar Still Using Dye Solutions, Eng. Technol. J., 30 (2012).
  99. Z. Farge, K. F.Sultan and A.M. Ahmed, Experimental study of the performance water distillation device by using solar energy, Eng. Technol. J., 35 (2017) 653-659. 
  100. W. Sharshir, M. Salman, S. M. El-Behery, M. A. Halim and G. B. Abdelaziz, Enhancement of solar still performance via wet wick, different aspect ratios, cover cooling, and reflectors,  Int. J. Energy Environ. Eng., 12 (2021) 517-530.
  101. B.Abdelaziz, A. M.Algazzar , E. M. S. El-Said, A.M.Elsaid, S. W. Sharshir , A. E. Kabeel and S. M. El-Behery, Performance enhancement of tubular solar still using nano-enhanced energy storage material integrated with v-corrugated aluminum basin, wick, and nanofluid,  J. Energy Storage, 41 (2021) 102933. 
  102. A.Essa, Z.M. Omara , A. S. Abdullah, A. E. Kabeel, G. B. Abdelaziz, Enhancing the solar still performance via rotating wick belt and quantum dots nanofluid, Case Stud. Therm. Eng., 27 (2021) 101222. 
  103. M. S.El-Said, M. A.Dahab, M. Abdelgaleel , G. Bedair, Productivity augmentation of a solar distiller utilizing a wire mesh absorber with a pulsed flow regime,  Desalination, 548 (2023) 116276.
  104. Shoeibi , M. Saemian , H. Kargarsharifabad, S. Hosseinzade , N.Rahbar , M.Khiadani , M.M. Rashidi, A review on evaporation improvement of solar still desalination using porous material,  Int. Commun. Heat Mass Transfer, 138 (2022) 106387.
  105. DhivagarS. ShoeibiH. KargarsharifabadM. H. AhmadiM. Sharifpur, Performance enhancement of a solar still using magnetic powder as an energy storage medium‐exergy and environmental analysis, Energy Sci. Eng., 10 (2022) 3154-3166.