Indoor plumbing and clean drinking water are not luxuries that are available to a large portion of the world’s population, but luckily, technology is beginning to fill in that gap.
One incredible example is a device being developed by a non-profit organization called GivePower. The device, which uses solar power to turn salt water into fresh drinking water, was unveiled in a coastal community in Kenya called Kiunga.
Nearly half of all people in the world using dirty water live in sub-Saharan Africa, (WHO/Unicef).
This is why we do what we do.
— Well Aware (@WellAwareWorld) July 31, 2019
Since there is such an abundance of saltwater on the planet, there have been a variety of different attempts at creating a device that converts saltwater into fresh drinking water, however, these devices are often far too expensive to be useful for poverty-stricken areas.
However, GivePower’s new system in Kenya has been able to reduce the cost of this process by harnessing solar power.
The organization says that the system can produce roughly 19,800 gallons of fresh drinking every single day, which is enough to sustain an estimated 25,000 people.
Hayes Barnard, the president of GivePower, told Business Insider that, “You have to find a way to pull water out of the ocean in a scalable way, in a sustainable way.”
“So we thought the next thing would be to bring the water to them,” Barnard said. “That’s where this idea came from. Could we provide the most affordable, healthy, sustainable water? And at scale?” he added.
Barnard expects that this will be the first of many locations where he is able to implement the water filtration system.
GivePower actually began as a branch of SolarCity, Elon Musk’s solar panel company. They also utilize Musk’s Tesla batteries for energy storage. However, just before SolarCity merged with Tesla in 2016, GivePower became an independent organization, led by Barnard.
Local residents end up paying roughly a quarter of one cent for every liter of water.
The project in Kenya has cost GivePower $500,000 and took a month to construct. However, the team hopes that they will be able to generate at least $100,000 from the system each year.
Barnard says that he hopes that the revenue can be used to build filtration systems in other locations.
💧1 in 3 people or 2.2 billion people around the world lack safe drinking water.
🚽Over half of the global population or 4.2 billion people lack safe sanitation.
— UN-Water (@UN_Water) July 27, 2019
“We hope that one of these systems funds another additional sister system every five years,” he said.
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Barnard expects his team to fine-tune their process and eventually be able to significantly lower their construction costs, possibly as low as $100,000 per plant.
Thus far, GivePower has received their upstart money from wealthy corporate and private donors, including a $250,000 grant from Bank of America.
All photos courtesy of GivePower