Converting seawater into safe drinking water at a large scale takes an enormous amount of energy, which makes it a costly and polluting process.
Now, a Dutch-based blended finance manager Climate Fund Managers (CFM), and Solar Water Solutions are working together to develop the installation of up to 200 desalination units in Kitui County, Kenya. The project eventually aims to provide clean water made of brackish groundwater for 400,000 Kenyans by 2023.
The new solar-powered desalination system works without connecting to a grid, without any batteries or chemicals, ever. This means the system will need zero battery investments, zero running costs, have zero emissions and zero carbon footprint.
The team working on the project claims that their containerized SolarRO reverse osmosis system is the world’s first desalination system powered by 100% solar energy. This fully automatic standalone system is installed in a 20ft container. The system will convert from 3500 L/h up to 7000 L/h from seawater, with total dissolved solids (TDS) 36,000 ppm. The production capacity is up to 10,000 liters per hour from brackish water, powered entirely by solar panels.
“Through this partnership with CFM and locally with Kitui County and Epicenter Africa, we can together revolutionize access to safe, affordable water in rural Kenya,” said Antti Pohjola, CEO of Solar Water Solutions. “This project marks a breakthrough in solar-powered water infrastructure. It wouldn’t have happened without the four key elements: A sustainable technology that brings down the cost of clean water, access to finance with a leading institutional investor, local partners, and a market-based business model.”
The stations themselves may not be visually impressive, but they are an ideal solution for water production in remote islands and rural areas.