It could help address the world’s looming water crisis.
People have been trying to turn seawater into drinking water for thousands of years, but the process is not usually energy-efficient or affordable.
At a newly constructed facility in Kenya, however, a nonprofit called GivePower is tackling that challenge using solar power.
The desalination system, which started operating in the coastal area of Kiunga in July 2018, can create 19,800 gallons (75,000 liters) of fresh drinking water each day — enough for 25,000 people.
“You have to find a way to pull water out of the ocean in a scalable way, in a sustainable way,” Hayes Barnard, the president of GivePower, told Business Insider.
Barnard hopes to scale the system up and open similar facilities around the globe to provide clean, fresh water for those who struggle to get it. Worldwide, one third of people don’t have access to safe drinking water, according to UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). By 2025, half the world’s population is expected to live in water-stressed areas. Cities like Cape Town, South Africa; Chennai, India; and Beijing, China already face dwindling water supplies.