Drinking water treatment with diamond electrodes

Disinfection unit of the demonstrator with three electrochemical cells with diamond electrodes connected in parallel (housing inscription “SafeWaterAfrica”).
© Fraunhofer IST
Disinfection unit of the demonstrator with three electrochemical cells with diamond electrodes connected in parallel (housing inscription “SafeWaterAfrica”).

Challenge

In the 16 sub-Saharan African countries, at least 40 percent of the population corresponding to more than 130 million people have no access to safe water. The aim of the project was to research and develop an autonomous and decentralized ˝Made in Africa˝ water treatment system for rural and periurban areas which is highly efficient in the degradation of harmful pollutants and which is accepted by the rural communities.

Solution

The purification system includes the carbon-based electrochemical oxidation (˝CabECO˝) technology of Fraunhofer IST which is based on an energy efficient highly effective electrochemical oxidation of critical substances and applies metal electrodes which are coated with diamond. The whole water purification system contains the following additional technologies: Electrocoagulation and electrodialysis for inorganic substances (Spain), Remote system monitoring and quality control (South Africa), Solar energy supply (South Africa). The project was coordinated by Fraunhofer IST.

Added value

Two jointly developed demonstrator plants have been successfully set up in Mozambique and South Africa. They can produce up to 100 m³ of WHO-quality water per day. Solar cells and batteries make the plant in South Africa energy self-sufficient. African partners are driving the implementation forward. The Fraunhofer IST is using the know-how gained for the further development of application-optimized cells.

Insights into the project

The diamond electrodes generate ozone for disinfection
© Fraunhofer IST
The diamond electrodes generate ozone for disinfection
Demonstrator in South Africa: overall view including the solar panels supplying the electrical power needed.
© Fraunhofer IST, Dr.-Ing. Jan Gäbler
Demonstrator in South Africa: overall view including the solar panels supplying the electrical power needed.
The plant in the container is mobile and can be placed in rural areas.
© Fraunhofer IST
The plant in the container is mobile and can be placed in rural areas.
View into the SafeWaterAfrica containerized water purification unit in Ressano Garcia, Mozambique.
© Virtual Consulting Engineers
View into the SafeWaterAfrica containerized water purification unit in Ressano Garcia, Mozambique.
Demonstrator in South Africa: Container, solar panels, water tanks and sludge drying.
© Fraunhofer IST, Jan Gäbler
Demonstrator in South Africa: Container, solar panels, water tanks and sludge drying.
Electrode assembly of the SafeWaterAfrica system in Ressano Garcia, Mozambique.
© Fraunhofer IST, Lothar Schäfer
Electrode assembly of the SafeWaterAfrica system in Ressano Garcia, Mozambique.

Euronews Documentary

Safe, cheap and sustainable: Clean water technology for Africa

Publications

 

Press release

Sustainable, profitable and now also award-winning

The SafeWaterAfrica project not only improves drinking-water supplies in South Africa and Mozambique and protects the environment. The technologies for water treatment are the responsibility of first and foremost African companies. The project under the leadership of the Fraunhofer IST has now been awarded the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution label.

Public Deliverables

(available on request Contact form)

  • D2.1 | Electrode-water correlation | 30.11.2016
  • D3.1 | Operating parameters and water condition reporting | 30.11.2016
  • D8.1 | Data Management Plan A | 30.11.2016
  • D3.2 | Remote monitoring and semi-autonomous functioning | 31.03.2017
  • D2.3 | CabECO modules | 30.04.2017
  • D4.2 | Prototype built and installed | 31.05.2017
  • D6.1 | PEDR (Plan for exploitation and dissemination of results) | 31.05.2017
  • D4.3 | Protoype testing | 30.09.2017
  • D8.2 | Data Management Plan B | 30.11.2017

  • D6.2 | EU Exploitation Workshop | 31.05.2018
  • D5.2 | Demonstrator systems | 05.06.2018
  • D7.1 | Training strategies | 29.11.2018
  • D8.3 | Data Management Plan C | 30.11.2018
  • D4.4 | System improvement | 31.03.2019
  • D6.3 | Technical workshop at test site | 31.05.2019
  • D7.2 | Education programs | 30.09.2019
  • D5.4 | System monitoring | 30.09.2019
  • D6.4 | Business models | 31.10.2019
  • D6.5 | Water Technology Forum | 30.11.2019
  • D6.6 | Distribution to water communities | 30.11.2019
  • D8.4 | Data Management Plan D | 30.11.2019

Funding reference

© European Commission

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 689925.

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Diamond electrodes for water purification and disinfection