As part of the upcoming Aqua Metropolis festival in Osaka, engineering firm NTT Facilities has developed a pair of solar-powered, UFO-shaped floating water purifiers that will be deployed in the city's canals and in the moat at Osaka Castle.
The disc-shaped machines -- called "Solar UFOs" -- weigh about 3.4 tons each and measure 1.6 meters (5 ft) tall and 5 meters (16 ft) across. During the day, an array of solar panels power the machine's filtration system, which pumps fresh oxygen into the water while removing impurities. At night, a 1.3-kilowatt solar battery provides juice to the LED lamps lining the edges of the floating craft.
The machines, which can purify about 9,000 liters (2,400 gallons) of water per day, spray the clean water out through a nozzle on top, like a fountain. In addition to keeping the surface clean of bird droppings and grime, the water spray keeps the solar panels cool, helping to maintain a high output efficiency.
The Solar UFOs are built using technology developed by NTT Facilities, a Tokyo-based company (part of the NTT Group) whose business includes architecture, construction planning, power supply system design, and the management of large-scale solar power plants. The water cleaners are currently not for sale.
Plans are to keep one Solar UFO operating in the Dotonbori canal (in central Osaka) until mid-October. The one in Osaka Castle moat is scheduled to remain in operation until the end of March 2010. NTT Facilities also announced plans to deploy Solar UFOs in Tokyo-area waters in the near future.