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Solar Water Plc’s sustainable solution for freshwater desalination

About the blog

David Reavley
Chief Executive Officer at Solar Water Plc.

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  • Solar Water Plc’s sustainable solution for freshwater desalination

We are facing a combined set of water and climate crises that are interconnected and we must act now to solve them. 70% of our planet is covered in water, but only 3% is freshwater and billions of people have access to none. According to estimates, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% by 2030; at the same time, climate change could shrink rainfall, snowpack and freshwater availability by 40% by 2050; and the world’s population is due to grow by a further 15% by 2035.

Together these effects will continue to grow water stress and scarcity with depleting supplies of freshwater for socio-economic development – shortages for domestic use, agriculture, urban development, industry, tourism, health and wellbeing.

Reverse osmosis desalination systems have served this water shortage relatively well, but the world has woken up to the problems within this interconnected crisis system that RO adds to. These plants are energy-intensive, and the fossil fuels burnt are currently leaving a massive carbon footprint of 76 million tonnes of CO2 each year, a number that is expected to rise to around 2,018 million tonnes by 2040 – all of which will accelerate climate change. And RO also tends to dump hyper-saline brine back into the sea harming marine ecosystems.

Solar Water Plc is revolutionising the water desalination process, with a game-changing technology that provides limitless supplies of fresh water in a carbon-neutral, marine friendly, cost-effective manner, using the concentrating power of sunlight.

Our technology is based on harnessing concentrated solar power to enhance the natural process of evaporation, condensation and precipitation. Unlike RO, we use no fossil fuels, only the power of the sun, so the process is net-zero, carbon-neutral, sustainable. It also means that the opex costs are significantly reduced, which alongside lower capex costs, mean that we can produce water at a competitive cost.

Solar Water Plc is revolutionising the desalination process with a game-changing technology that provides limitless supplies of freshwater

Solar Water’s Concentrated Solar Power Dome plants are effectively solar furnaces that use solar power to produce the high levels of energy required, using heliostat mirrors positioned around the receiver dome to gather sunlight, focusing the sun's power onto the dome structure. The heat generated is conducted to the lower crucible where the constant and rapid intake of seawater is boiled to produce saturated steam. This is then put through a cooling unit, condensed and precipitated as freshwater.

Solar Water Plc’s Solar Domes provide the solution for governments, water municipalities, agriculturalists and businesses with the requirements of generating a supply of freshwater for growing populations and rapidly expanding socio-economic development ambitions.

Our technology is operationally capable of solving water stress in any location with high enough levels of irradiation and access to seawater (or potentially brackish groundwater): at least 80 countries around the world including Spain, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, across South America, and throughout Middle-East, Africa and Asia.

Solar Water is also part of the REWAISE consortium (REsilient WAter Innovation for Smarter Economy) based out of Spain and backed by European Commission funding - the project creates a new smart water ecosystem, embracing the true value of water and paving the way for a resilient circular economy. The ambition is to incentivise water-related investments and accelerate SME growth - by linking users with specific water needs and collective actions, new governance frameworks will generate high social returns, maximising value in water (putting to beneficial use dissolved substances such as nutrients, minerals, chemicals and metals, as well as organic matter and energy, embedded in water streams), value from water (enhancing activities inherent to the water cycle, products and services that generate benefits and jobs) and value through water (fostering societal and well-being functions of water, while minimising emissions).

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