Kenya Installs the First Solar Plant That Transforms Ocean Water Into Drinking Water, and It Could Be the Solution to the Global Lack of Water

While sitting in our warm, cozy living room, reading the latest world news online, snacking, or drinking fresh juice, or water, we rarely think we are privileged and live a luxurious life.

Well, we have several reasons to make you feel fortunate!

Just think of the billions of people starving and thirsted to death, billions of children having to walk for miles to attend school, and millions of people poor and homeless.

Unfortunately, a lot of countries around the world are hit hard by factors like war, disease, climate change, and extreme weather patterns, so they remain trapped in cycles of poverty and misfortune.

Even though water makes up 71% of the Earth, there are millions of people worldwide that do not have access to safe drinking water.

The World Economic Forum maintains that the global water crisis is the number four risk in terms of impact on society.

Let’s speak in numbers: 785 million people do not have safe drinkable water, around 2.2 billion people lack safely-managed water services, 4.2 billion people don’t own safely managed sanitation services, and three-thousand-million do not have basic facilities for washing hands.

Additionally, numerous people in rural and poor areas have fresh water, but it is not cleaned suitably.

Therefore, the goal of one NGO, GivePower, is to do something about it. The non-profit branch of the Tesla subsidiary Solar City was launched in 2013, and its team of engineers, developers, and clean energy thought leaders work to “design, build and deploy renewable energy systems that provide food, water, and light to those who need it most.”

Hayes Barnard, founder and president of GivePower, said:

“Humanity needs to take swift action to address the increasingly severe global water crisis that faces the developing world. 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.”

They installed a solar-powered desalination system in a small fishing community in Kenya, Kiunga, that serves to bring clean, healthy water.

The system converts the salty ocean water into drinkable water, and it can produce about 70 thousand liters of drinkable water daily, enough for up to 35 thousand people.

The process that separates salts and other minerals from the water is called desalination, and it is conducted by forcing the water through a membrane.

Yet, any solution needs to maintain equal amounts of salt, minerals, and water on either side of the membrane, also known as osmotic pressure.

This requires immense amounts of energy. Traditionally, high amounts of chemicals were used in the process of desalination and post-treatment.

Yet, this NGO solved this issue with the help of a new technology called “solar water farms”.

Their system includes solar panels that produce fifty kilowatts of energy, which is stored by two high-performance Tesla batteries, and it uses two water pumps that operate 24 hours per day.

The result is high-quality water, that does not produce saline residues and pollutants that can harm the environment and animals.

Since the drought in 2014, residents of Kiunga, Kenya, located a few miles south of the Somalian border, used dirty sea and brackish saltwater.

Therefore, they were forced to travel for an hour to reach their only source of water to drink, bathe, and wash, a well located on the same channel that animals use for bathing, whose water was polluted and rich in parasites.

Barnard said:

“They were basically poisoning their families with this water.”

Yet, since it is near the Indian Ocean, the village was an ideal place for the world’s first GivePower Solar Water Farm.

The 3 500 residents now have clean, fresh, safe drinking water coming straight from a tap. The success of this project inspired GivePower to build more such plants around the world.

They are raising funds to install more solar water farms, and have already provided solar grids in over 2,650 locations, including schools, medical clinics, businesses, and emergency services in seventeen countries.