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  • Writer's pictureJohn Nell

In drought-stricken Namibia, solar energy is now used to make clean water from the Atlantic Ocean

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

Taking a look back at how our partner Solar Water Solutions brought fresh water to drought stricken Namibia

Turning seawater into drinking and irrigation water can now be made with renewable energy in places where there is no community water infrastructure. In sub-Saharan Africa, solar desalination is providing clean drinking water for the population and also serving important ecological and economic needs in coastal agriculture.

Safe, convenient and affordable drinking-water is now a plentiful resource

Namibia’s first-ever fully solar-powered desalination system, which makes high-quality water straight from the ocean, has been commissioned as a joint initiative of the University of Namibia and the University of Turku in Finland. The plant is part of innovative research that examines the potential of coastal agriculture and plants and crops for effective carbon binding.

The system is designed and delivered by a water technology company called Solar Water Solutions Ltd. It is among the first desalination systems in the world to operate on 100% renewable energy.

The seawater desalination plant was launched on Friday 10 May at the University of Namibia campus, and the keynote speech was given by H.E. Dr. Sam S Nujoma, founding President of the Republic of Namibia. In sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia stands out as the driest country and one of those hardest hit by the effects of climate change.

“The impact we hope to receive through this plant is to contribute to food security and increase energy supply while simultaneously combating and mitigating the effects of climate change. We can make Namibia green,” stated the Vice-Chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu from UNAM.

The new plant produces safe water for drinking and irrigation purposes. The decentralized system is situated close to the beach and installed in a container. The modular and scalable system produces 3.500 liters of water per hour from the ocean with zero energy costs and without any batteries. The system can also be used as a hybrid with electricity or a generator if needed. The equipment removes salt, bacteria, chemicals, viruses and other impurities from the water. Using boreholes that only produce saline or brackish water, the system can desalinate seawater for human consumption and for food security as well as animal consumption.

Solar Water Solutions has solved how to turn seawater into drinking water with purely renewable energy – diving into one of the biggest problems in the world. Our company has grown from an innovation to a family enterprise whose mission is to create access to affordable and sustainable drinking water.

“This life-cycle costs of this solar-powered desalination solution are more than 70% lower than conventional systems, as there are no energy costs or need for fossil fuels,” says Antti Pohjola, CEO of Solar Water Solutions. Mr. Pohjola explains that decentralized solar-powered desalination systems could revolutionize water scarcity issues in off-grid islands and communities. Drinking and irrigation water can be produced locally in places where there is no community water infrastructure.

photo & story credits Solar Water Solutions

for more information on how our Solar Water Maker Solutions in Australia and the South Pacific please contact John at SWS Pacific


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