Decentralized Water Purification System Using Solar Power Energy

Image: Courtesy of BOSAQ

It is estimated that 844 million people lack access to a clean drinking water service, and 2 billion people drink water from a contaminated water source. Each year this leads to an estimated death rate of 502,000 people due to diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio drinking from a contaminated water source. About 1,000 daily die because of these water related diseases.

Producing clean water is a very intense process that requires a considerable amount of energy and efficient technology to run the water purification process. This is one of the bottlenecks that developing countries encounter due to the lack of a sufficient energy supply network and lack of adequate water treatment infrastructure to support the demand of clean water.

A Belgian cleantech company, BOSAQ, is using its expertise in water treatment technology to tackle these drinking water challenges. BOSAQ developed a system that performs water purification using solar power energy and minimizes the use of chemicals in the water treatment process and therefore reduces its environmental impact. This innovative water treatment unit is called the SolarAQ. In the treatment process you will find three big steps;

  • first a pre-filtration that takes all the floating particles out of the water,
  • second ultrafiltration is used to remove parasites and pathogenic bacteria and
  • third active carbon to remove all odor and bad taste.

A UV-lamp as finishing step makes sure no contamination is ever possible. The solar power gives the system the ability to run autonomously up to 24 hours a day without any interruption, the units are mobile and can produce up to 35 to 2,000 liters per hour.

The SolarAQ is the ideal solution for steady water supply in rural settlement in Rwanda, where there is scarcity of clean water due to the lack of centralized water treatment infrastructure. Not only because of the use of solar power but also due to its decentralized features, giving the luxury to produce clean and healthy drinking water anywhere, anytime. Local communities will be able to maintain and monitor the units, which will empower them to be self-reliant in their water supply.

Eight years ago, the Rwandian government initiated the Integrated Development Program (IDP) model village with the first three years serving for a pilot, the government aims to improve the system of rural human settlement to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development and water is one the key components to the success of the IDP model village.

By 2020, the plan is to have 100% IDP model villages being all the 30 districts and BOSAQ is currently conducting conversations with Rwanda to start using the SolarAQ unit in 15 IDP model villages initially. A trial demonstration was carried out in the Eastern province in Bugesera District in April 2018. The cost per jerrycan of drinking water is estimated to be $0.02 making this a cheaper solution than the already installed technologies.

This will ensure that there will be a steady water supply with a very minimum maintenance and enables them to source any type of water being rain, lake or river water and turn it into healthy drinking water.