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Solar cells help purify water in developing countries


Thanks to an innovative energy-saving solar-based water purification technology, rural areas in Bangladesh are now able to access safe drinking water. Photo: K. M. Persson

The order was done by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and his organization Yunus Centre. In October, the first unit was installed and by now, another 9 units have been delivered to the pilot project in Bangladesh.

The portable water purification facilities, so-called Micro Production Centres (MPC), are managed by local suppliers and help create jobs for young, unemployed people who run the small facilities and sell clean water in exchange for a small fee. A large part of the population in Bangladesh currently use water contaminated by arsenic.

“It is important that the cost of purifying water is sustainable. Many people can now begin to purchase inexpensive, clean water, and at the same time – in accordance with Muhammad Yunus’s model – a lot of them can make a small profit by running the water purification plants”, says Kenneth M Persson.

Watersprint recently signed a contract with the United Nations about placing 500 portable units in Bangladesh. The units can be connected to Wi-Fi and they include software that monitors the machine. In case of malfunction, the unit will send out alerts via text message to any mobile phone that is connected to it, as well as through the LED lights on the machine.

“The installations are hopefully only the first step to set up similar structures in several other countries that lack access to clean water”, says Kenneth M Persson.

 *Professor Muhammad Yunus received the Noble Peace Prize in 2006 for founding the Grameen Bank and for his work on micro-loans. He also coined the term “social business”, which provides access to technologies and services for solving social or societal problems.