Mar 10, 2022

Development of solar-thermal wastewater treatment system to provide potable water to African countries


Water is one of the most important components for life. Contaminated water can adversely affect public health leading to several health issues. The long-term goal of this team effort is to advance the water purification technology specific for African continent, pave the way to provide clean water to millions of people around the world, and save lives for those who would die from water-borne diseases.

This project proposes to establish a network for accessing African wastewater infrastructure, wastewater samples, and contaminant information to guide us to develop an advanced solar-thermal water purification system for developing countries that requires no external energy and little maintenance.

Our team consists of a diverse group of optical and material scientists, civil engineers, and environmental scientists from four countries of the three continents of the WUN, including the University of Ghana (UG), the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, the University of Rochester (UR) in the US, and University of Sheffield (UoS) in the UK. Function-wise, this team is divided into the front-end, middle, and back-end. At the front end, UG and UCT will study African wastewater infrastructure and contaminant information. In the middle, the UR team will develop solar water purification technology applicable to those contaminants. At the back end, the UoS team will study the best infrastructure for water delivery and pipe design to the end-users.

At the end of the 12-month project, we intend to establish our team as a cohesive team in water research and technology. The team is capable to address major issues in technological developments, wastewater contaminant profiling, real-world sampling and testing, and water infrastructure. This combined capability will be key to take on future larger-scale projects and raise the profile of WUN in sustainability and global public health.