Africa’s first Solar Powered Desalination Plant

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  • The plant, located in Witsand, Western Cape Province, has been fully operational since December 2018, solving the water crisis in the area and providing the local population a steady water supply.
  • This installation provides a sustainable answer to two main challenges in Africa: water scarcity and energy supply.

The project, co-funded by the French Treasury and the Province of the Western Cape, has been fully developed and completed in less than 18 months by Turnkey Water Solutions (TWS) and Mascara Renewable Water, together with a strong team of local consultants and contractors.

The technology, OSMOSUN®, was developed by the French Company Mascara Renewable Water and brought to South Africa by their local partner TWS-Turnkey Water Solutions. It is the world’s first reverse osmosis desalination technology coupled with photovoltaic solar energy, without batteries. The technology is designed to supply coastal or borehole-dependent communities, with drinking water at a competitive price and without CO2 emissions.

The plant produces 100kl of fresh water per day powered by solar energy only. This volume will supply close to 50% of the daily demand of Witsand during off-peak periods.  The plant is also connected to the electrical grid. This enables the plant to be operated during peak water demand periods on a 24-hour basis, with a maximum supply capacity of 300kl/day.  The unit has been in full production since the 20th December.

“The shortage of water in the Western-Cape is a harsh reality and only by implementing preventative measures, Hessequa municipality will be able to create water resource stability in our region. The Municipality is utilising innovative ideas in combating the effects of climate change, by taking the frontrunner approach in establishing public-private intergovernmental relationships and joint ventures. These partnerships will ensure a green economy that aims at reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” says Hessequa Executive Mayor Grant Riddles.

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, commented: “It is an outstanding achievement that within just two months of operation the de-salination plant is already surpassing 10,000kL of drinkable water. The installation further endorses that Cape Town and the Western Cape has successfully emerged as a water resilient destination and a world leader in sustainability.”

Harris added: “A resilient destination is even more attractive to tourists and investors alike, and therefore, a key component of our economic promotion of the destination now and into the future”

The Municipal staffs have been trained and are now fully empowered to operate the plant’s day-to-day activities. The plant is remotely controlled by TWS together with Mascara Renewable Water, and is continuously monitored to ensure perfect integration into its environment. All data is made public via the municipal website for full transparency.

This installation provides a sustainable answer to two main challenges in Africa: water scarcity and energy supply.

Marc Vergnet, CEO of Mascara Renewable Water acknowledges the momentum created by TWS: “When we started our collaboration two years ago, we would have never thought it possible to successfully install and commission an OSMOSUN plant producing 150kL every day within such a short timeframe, therefore opening up great opportunities for equipment installations and water sales projects in the region.”

Author: GBA News Desk/ESI-Africa Contributor

This article was originally published on ESI Africa and is republished with permission with minor editorial changes.



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