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Self-Sustaining Cleaning Technology for Safe Water Supply and Management in Rural African Areas

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - SafeWaterAfrica (Self-Sustaining Cleaning Technology for Safe Water Supply and Management in Rural African Areas)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2019-11-30

"In the Southern African Development Community (SADC), more than100 million people have limited or even no access to clean water. The overall goal of the SafeWaterAfrica project was to research and develop an autonomous and decentralized ""Made in Africa"" water treatment system for rural and peri-urban areas which is highly efficient in the degradation of harmful pollutants, and which is accepted by the members of rural communities. The system was to be designed to provide 300 people in rural areas with safe water.
The project represented a consortium of European partners from Germany, Italy and Spain, providing European knowledge on new technologies for water purification. Academic and industrial partners from South Africa and Mozambique completed the project consortium by adding knowledge on additional technologies and system integration.
An integral part of the solution is a new European water treatment technology based on the energy efficient production of strong oxidants, produced electrochemically from the water, called “CabECO”. It does not need additional chemicals for the effective degradation of persistent organic pollutants as well as for killing pathogens."
Two sites for the build and installation of the two SafeWaterAfrica Demonstrator units were selected, one in South Africa (Waterval, Klip River) and one in Mozambique (Ressano Garcia, Incomati River). A year-long seasonal water quality footprint for both rivers was designed and performed. In addition, stakeholders were identified and hosted at a four stakeholder engagement events held in South Africa, Germany and South Africa.
The design of the electrode modules, the CabECO cells and operation parameter to be used in the prototype and in the Demonstrators were developed. The research highlighted the importance to add pre-treatments to the CabECO cells to guarantee a continuous operation and to reduce the risk of fast aging and fouling of the electrodes. In addition, a modified version of CabECO is integrated in the SafeWaterAfrica system to produce residual disinfectant in the product water by oxidizing inter alia naturally occurring chloride to hypochlorite.
The Remote Monitoring System was developed taking into account the legislation of both South Africa and Mozambique. The system displays all data received from the prototype in an easy to read manner, measures the water quality and assures the effective operation of the installations. Malfunctions of the Demonstrators are detected during operation and measures to secure correct operation in the field tests have been taken.
The design of the prototype took into consideration typical water qualities from different sources on South Africa and Mozambique. The building of the prototype was completed and commissioned on the site of CSIR. The remote operation monitoring system of the prototype was installed. An investigation program to operate the prototype, including all technology modules such as chemical coagulation, flocculation and filtration, the novel pre-treatment technology electrocoagulation and electrochemical disinfection in different process parameter constellations has been performed. The results of these extensive tests were used to design the Demonstrators.
Based on the Demonstrator concept, the final design for the Demonstrator in South Africa has been finished. The design has integrated different process units, including a novel pre-treatment in a pre-disinfection column as well as disinfection with ozone produced with the CabECO technology. The CabECO cells have been tested and calibrated in tap water and reverse osmosis water, with the monitoring, control and operation philosophy. The Demonstrator has been built and installed at the test site near the Klip River. A for the installation in Mozambique led to building of a slightly modified Demonstrator, which also accounts for the less-contaminated raw water of the Incomati River. The Demonstrator at the Klip River was in operation for 14 months, producing water according to WHO and SANS 241 standards. The same is valid for the Demonstrator at the Incomati River, however, because of delays it was in operation for about 6 months. The Demonstrator at Klip River was also used to demonstrate direct reclamation of final wastewater effluent, removing a wide range of micro-pollutants.
To disseminate the results and to identify potential partners for exploitation, the consortium contributed to ten conferences and one industrial fair, published nine scientific peer-reviewed papers, organised eleven workshops and published various press releases, news and videos.
Extensive work has been done on market research and product design for marketable SafeWaterAfrica systems. These activities resulted in cost calculations for the systems and business models for the roll-out of the technology. Business models include the addressing for different market segments as well as different financing models. Different interested parties from public and private sector from the partner countries as well as third countries have been identified. Negotiations with interested parties are ongoing. The Demonstrators will be operated after the e
The two jointly developed Demonstrator systems for autonomous water purification using integrated technologies from Africa and Europe are successfully producing water according to WHO and SANS 241 standards. The construction, installation and operation, completed by South African partners, has great benefits against imported solutions. These benefits are:
• adaption to local needs and markets,
• involvement into and deep understanding of the solution (no black box!),
• increased acceptance, responsibility and ownership,
• local business and job opportunities.
The system solutions based on SafeWaterAfrica will produce high quality water under controlled conditions. This water will be safe for consumption which is not always the case for decentralized water supplies in the SADC countries. It will thus improve the health situation and promote social well-being.
The impact for the European partners is based on the securing and creation of sustainable jobs, in the broadening of technological knowledge in the field of carbon-based coatings, in intercultural business experience, and in African-European scientific cooperation. The project already led to future cooperation in the field the Water-Energy-Food nexus.
Student process controller, operating demonstrator 1, South Africa
Demonstrator 2, placed in the village of Ressano Garcia, Mozambique
Demonstrator 1 in Waterval, South Africa, powered by solar panel
Student process controller, operating demonstrator 2, Mozambique