Submitted by: AUTARCON
Implemented country: Gambia
Title: Sun meets Water: Solar Magic Box Provides Gambia Hospital with Drinking Water
Alexander Goldmaier is a native of the German city of Kassel and an electrical engineer. His specialty is decentralized energy and water treatment systems. He also has a vision: Safe drinking water for rural areas of developing countries. The solution Alexander has come up with is called SuMeWa|SYSTEM, which is used for energy-autarkic, decentralized drinking water treatment -- and is desperately needed. One billion people worldwide have no access to drinking water. 85 per cent of them live in rural areas. Alexander’s work is also his hobby, and he gets the energy for his work from the joy of the people whom he supplies with a higher quality of living. Today it’s Gambia where Alexander’s Sun Meets Water system supplies clean water for the REMIS Health Center in Darsilami.
Contaminated water, either from the surface or from a 70 meter deep well, is pumped up with a submersible pump. The necessary power is supplied by two 120 watt photovoltaic modules. No batteries are needed. After filtering the water, chloride is electrolytically produced in a reactor from the salts of the water. The water is then safely and permanently disinfected in the reservoir. From here, the water can be directly used or sent to end users via a decentralized system. A sensor makes sure that the water is always up to par, quality-wise. The chlorine level automatically adapts to the water quality. Current system information can be retrieved on demand at any given time. The system is extremely sturdy, simple and durable. With the exception of the pump there are no mechanical parts. Maintenance is low. The system only requires regular checking and cleaning of filters, the electrolysis cell, and the water reservoir, which can be done by locals with the help of a soft-bristled toothbrush and a bit of lemon juice or acetic acid.
The SuMeWa|SYSTEM fits into a compact box for transportation and is ready for use in a flash. It produces up to 400 liters of water per hour. Costs are at 11,000 euros per unit. And there are no operating costs on site. All that is needed is a base frame and, possibly, a well. Calculated for a ten-year period, this means that 1 liter of water costs less than 0.01 euros. At Darsilami, the water quality is continually monitored by the hospital management. Now Alexander Goldmaier is working on establishing a sales network together with NGOs, consultants, as well as other distributors. His goal is to keep developing the system, distributing it on a worldwide basis and designing a disaster kit. He is hoping for enough publicity and, of course, more investors, through the Energy Globe Award.