While energy shortfalls are a major challenge affecting developing countries, water shortage problems are springing up in various parts of the world and scientists have been looking towards desalination plants as a crucial option in alleviating this crisis. But the major challenge with desalination plants is that they require a humongous amount of energy to produce clean potable water making the water an expensive commodity for the masses. This also increases the carbon footprint of such facilities as energy is consumed.
This is the problem the new solar-powered desalination plant on the coasts of Kiunga, Kenya has come to solve. The facility built by a nonprofit called GivePower is expected to run its operations completely off the grid. Initially opened in July 2018, today the plant is capable of producing 75,000 litres of clean potable water every day, capable of serving a population of 25,000.
Two methods typically used by desalination plants are Reverse Osmosis and Multi-stage flash distillation, both of which are energy intensive especially the multi-stage flash distillation.
Solar energy has once more proven to be the energy of the 21st century providing solutions to energy related crises around the globe. The president and founder of GivePower, Hayes Barnard was quoted as saying, “Humanity needs to take swift action to address the increasingly severe global water crisis that faces the developing world”. He said “With our background in off-grid clean energy, GivePower can immediately help by deploying solar water farm solutions to save lives in areas throughout the world that suffer from prolonged water scarcity.”