LEDSOL: Enabling clean and sustainable water through smart UV/LED disinfection and SOLar energy utilization

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Partners

Project coordinator: Irina G. Mocanu, Centrul IT pentru Stiinta si Tehnologie, Romania

Project partners:

Main topic addressed: Productive uses and new applications of solar energy

Aim of LEDSOL

LEDSOL is aiming to foster long term collaboration between African and European organizations on sustainable and affordable technologies to provide off the grid clean water by using a smart portable unit based on UV/LED disinfection augmented with classical decontamination and powered by renewable energy sources.

Background

In many countries, access to clean water is a huge challenge. Women and children suffer when fetching water many kilometers away from
home. For instance, according to UNICEF, a quarter of Togo’s people do not have access to drinking water within 30 minutes walking and one child out of three suffers from a disease caused by dirty water.

About the project

LEDSOL aims to build a technology that will give access to affordable energy for clean water production to a wide number of beneficiaries, in particular in remote areas.

To achieve that, the project focuses on photovoltaics as the most reliable and cost-efficient renewable energy technology. The LEDSOL technology will provide clean and safe drinking water using a UV/LED disinfection process augmented with classical decontamination and powered by lightweight flexible solar cells. The system will be packaged as a backpack with a positioned engine, which offers an easy to use and affordable technology to local population who is off the grid.

The project will have pilots in three countries to demonstrate the LEDSOL technology in relevant environments: Algeria (Tipaza and Blida regions), Togo (Lomé and surrounding farms), and Romania (Baragan region). Tests will be undertaken to estimate performance under unfavourable water conditions along with the data collection of the users’ needs. For instance, wastewater from samples collected in Algeria will be also tested in order to estimate the performance of LEDSOL in extreme conditions, where the user doesn’t have access to surface or ground water resources. To ensure success, users’ needs and satisfaction will be collected at several steps throughout the project.

Overall, the main contributions are in the field of UV/LED water disinfection, flexible solar cells, and low-cost robust processes that would be able to detect errors in the initial stages and prevent them.

Expected results

The projects aims for an affordable system which will be designed by keeping in mind the end users’ needs and local opportunities.  Specific expected results include:

  • Reliable and affordable stand alone systems that can be easily and widely deployed in remote areas
  • Sustainability of renewable energy systems
  • Access to sustainable and affordable energy for a large number of beneficiaries, maximizing the socio-economic impact
  • Providing avenues for testing in real life contexts
  • Identification of key R&I actors and stakeholders for future joint initiatives; Identification of areas of profitability