Solar-Powered Device Turns Salt Water Into Drinking Water For Thousands In Kenya
One of the greatest challenges in many parts of the world is providing clean drinking water for people. For millions, a lack of water can literally be the difference between life and death.
A possible solution to the problem is turning seawater into drinking water, but the cost of doing so is usually exorbitant and uses large amounts of energy, meaning that many areas remain on the verge of running out of freshwater.
That problem may be closer to a sustainable solution thanks to a company that recently installed a seawater to drinking water system in Kenya:
“At a newly constructed facility in Kenya, however, a nonprofit called GivePower is tackling that challenge using solar power.
“The desalination system, which started operating in the coastal area of Kiunga in July 2018, can create 19,800 gallons (75,000 liters) of fresh drinking water each day — enough for 25,000 people.”
GivePower was launched in 2013 as an offshoot of the Tesla subsidiary Solar City, and is a team of engineers and developers who aim to “design, build and deploy renewable energy systems that provide food, water, and light to those who need it most.”
Hayes Barnard, the president of GivePower, told Business Insider that “You have to find a way to pull water out of the ocean in a scalable way, in a sustainable way.” He added that GivePower hopes to open facilities similar to the one in Kiunga in other areas around the world to help the one-third of people on Earth who lack access to safe drinking water.
Lack of drinking water has also led to a decrease in the number of girls who are able to attend school:
“Women and children across Africa and Asia walk an average of 3.7 miles per day to fetch water, according to the UN Commission for Human Rights, and those treks take time and energy away from learning.
“‘So we thought the next thing would be to bring the water to them,’ Barnard said. “‘That’s where this idea came from. Could we provide the most affordable, healthy, sustainable water? And at scale?'”
The world is facing a water crisis thanks in large part to the global climate crisis which is causing rising sea levels:
“As sea levels rise, scientists expect salt water to infiltrate more fresh water sources in coastal areas. That situation isn’t hypothetical in Kiunga: An ongoing drought that began in 2014 has forced residents to drink from salt water wells, even though doing so can cause kidney failure, according to GivePower.”
In Kiunga, the situation before GivePower arrived was terrible, Barnard recalled:
“It was a really dire situation for this community. Children walking around the community with wounds- lesions on their body from washing clothes in salt water.”
While the new system has been a godsend for the residents of Kiunga, the way it works is actually quite simple, according to Nature World News:
“The desalination device took the opportunity to use a technology called ‘solar water farms,’ which could generate 50 kilowatts of energy, high-performance Tesla batteries to store it. Two water pumps also operate in this project 24 hours a day.”
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