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Solar Water Farm desalination FAQs

Desalination FAQ’s

Why do you use Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis desalination is a process that uses a membrane to desalinate and purify seawater, brackish, contaminated, or undrinkable water sources by removing the dissolved salts and harmful content. The membranes used in desalination systems remove salt, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and cysts from the raw water, producing safe, healthy drinkable water. Reverse Osmosis is widely regarding as one of the most effective and efficient methods of desalinating and purifying water in a single step.

Is the water safe to drink?

Absolutely. Reverse Osmosis is one of the most favored methods of purifying and desalinating contaminated water sources. It is frequently used as a treatment process prior to bottling water because it produces an extremely high quality of water for drinking.

Does your water pass drinking water standards?

Yes, we work with the top companies in the industry to design equipment that will pass the most stringent drinking water requirements. In countries where there are active standards in place, we work with the local water authorities to make sure that our water conforms to their standards. In regions where standards are not well regulated, we hold ourselves to World Health Organization standards on drinking water.

I heard desalination in energy intensive, how do you run a desalination system on solar?

We partnered with the leading companies in the desalination, pump design, solar technology and battery storage industries to put together one of the most efficient desalination systems on the planet. By designing the solar array, battery bank and desalination system to operate 24/7 on renewable sources our systems are independent of local, frequently dirty, power generation systems. This design allows us to operate in communities that have no access to a main electrical grid or where the electrical grid is unreliable. Our systems operate at municipal scale efficiency but are built on a scale which provides access to smaller communities. 

Are the intake pipes harmful to local marine life?

We design our systems using a beach or borehole well rather than what is called an “open intake”. Open intakes can inadvertently suck up marine animals and plant life and are more susceptible to damage from storms and human activity. By constructing a well the earth acts as a

natural first stage filter providing cleaner, less turbid water to the desalination plant. This makes the equipment last longer but it also eliminates any potential harmful effects on local marine life, since no plant or animal life can find its way into the well.

Why seawater desalination?

By desalinating seawater we can provide dry coastal regions with a new potable water resource, rather than straining an already stressed

natural resource like groundwater. Seawater desalination allows us to access the most abundant water resource on earth, the ocean, and turn it into an inexpensive, high-quality source of drinking water.

Do you work with brackish or saline ground water?

While our primary focus is currently on seawater and dry coastal regions, we are seeking to provide safe water solutions to regions that

don’t have access to a potable water supply. This can include inland communities that have brackish or saline ground water as well as well as dry coastal communities.

What do you do with the concentrated discharge water?

It depends on the proximity of the installation site to the ocean. When the site is on the coast, then we typically send the concentrate discharge back to the ocean. In these cases we design a multiport diffusion pipe that allows the concentrate discharge to slowly trickle back into the ocean across a greater distance. Evidence has shown that by designing outfall pipes, the concentrate discharge mixes with the ocean very quickly and virtually eliminates any measurable effect on the surrounding environment.

In sites where direct access to the ocean is not possible, then the concentrate discharge is typically handled using an infiltration basin or injection well located a suitable distance from the intake well so as to avoid contaminating the feed water with the discharge water. These methods allow us to return the water back to the source where the water was originally drawn from. 

It is important to note that no chemicals are added to the feed water, or the concentrate discharge, so when water is returned to the source it is simply a more concentrated version of the water source.

Is the concentrate discharge water harmful?

Not when it is handled properly. Because we do not add any chemicals to the water during the desalination process, the concentrate discharge is simply a more concentrated version of the same raw water source that we used at the start of the process. By using multiport diffusion pipes, or rapid infiltration basins we can effectively manage the process to minimize the environmental impact on the surrounding ecosystem.

Typical municipal installations will have a concentrate discharge that is twice the concentration of the original feed water source, and a volume of up to 8,000 m3 per hour. Our systems are design to only increase the concentration by 50%, and we discharge less than 6m3 per hour. By building small scale, distributed infrastructure desalination systems our concentrate discharge can be expected to have almost no measurable negative environmental impact. 

Are there any chemicals in the concentrate discharge?

Our systems are designed specifically to operate without the need for chemical injection systems in the feed water or concentrate discharge

pipes. This means that the water that is returned to the source during the process contains the same chemical and biological

makeup as the source water.

Why hasn’t anybody done this before?

This is an exciting time for technologies like ours. The rapid development of the tech industry, the near ubiquitous use of cell phones, cashless payment systems, a growing host of internet connected devices from inverters to flow meters, battery and energy storage advancements, more energy efficient pumps and motors, and the rapid development and investment in the water industry have only recently made a solution like ours possible. 

However, the technology wasn’t the only barrier to the successful implementation of a Solar Water Farm; local regulations, foreign direct investment restrictions, water consumption and collection habits, ambiguous land ownership and use rights, last mile distribution challenges, and the outright complexity of civil infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships in developing countries all add up to make these projects extremely challenging to implement. GivePower’s demonstrated success in navigating these hurdles to international development,

coupled with all the recent technological break-throughs, have allowed us to be pioneers of solar powered seawater desalination.

How are you able to do this so cost efficiently?

When we designed our Solar Water Farms we started with a blank slate. We sought out the most efficient desalination systems, the best energy storage equipment, the highest tech inverters, and the smartest experts in those fields. By designing the entire solution from the

ground up we were able to optimize technology and relationships to create an economical, environmentally friendly, scalable solution to provide safe water to those that need it most.

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