Our first project is ready to go!

By Jackie Hynes

Wind4Water(c) projects have the potential to provide affordable fresh water to developing nations across the globe. By combining industrial wind turbines with desalinization plants, we have established a sustainable, replicable infrastructure that can be used to help nourish the 1.1 billion people who lack access to fresh water worldwide.

Coastal nations especially island nations, have used traditional desalinization plants to filter brackish water and sea water for safe consumption. However, these desalinization plants require a lot of energy to run and have a large initial cost. Wind4Water© can help!

Wind4Water© projects include at least one turbine,, and a water filtration plant to produce fresh water. The project development is locally sourced, providing the host nation’s population with jobs and knowledge from service technicians, to office personnel, to managers.

Our first project is shovel-ready! After about a year of developing the system and working through permits we are excited to announce that our first project is ready to begin construction in the town of Santa Cruz on the island of Santiago, in the Cape Verde Islands off of Africa’s west coast.

The project in Santa Cruz is a generally small scale ‘proof of concept’ plant in comparison with our other projects in planning. The plant has the capacity to produce 500m3/day of water. The electricity source is from a 300kW wind turbine.

Cape Verde Wind, the local Joint Venture partner of Associated Energy Developers, LLC is largely responsible getting this first project to this point. Their local knowledge of the islands has made for a successful collaboration. Our goal is that it will serve as a ‘proof of concept’ to allow the construction of up to 10 new Wind4Water facilities to proceed around Cape Verde.

 

 

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Why wells may not be enough to address the water crisis

By Sara Corben

In areas where water is scarce, a well can provide a simple solution to the challenges faced by a family or village. There is no doubt that the charities working to build wells in Africa are making a huge difference and providing opportunities for improved health and happiness. But at the same time, wells only provide a short-term and small-scale fix to a problem which currently affects one sixth of the world’s population and is projected to affect a growing number of people in the future.

In an article published for the 2009 World Water Forum in Turkey, the International Institute for Environment and Development estimated that 50,000 recent boreholes, pumps and wells installed with foreign aid were dysfunctional and in need of maintenance. Collectively, these water supply points represent an investment of $215-$360 million. Continue reading “Why wells may not be enough to address the water crisis” »

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What is in your Water?

By Cara Goodman

Everyone knows that unclean water is unsafe to drink, and can make you sick. But few know exactly what can be living in that murky water, and what it can do to the human body. Here is a look at the top five diseases you can get directly from drinking contaminated water; and the organisms and chemicals that cause them.

1. Diarrhea

In the US, diarrhea is thought of as something everyone gets once in a while, and recovers from within a short time period. The main concern is temporary discomfort, perhaps a day of missed school or work. In contrast, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under five worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most of these cases of diarrhea occur in the developing world (see map). The main way people get infected is through drinking or coming in contact with feces-contaminated water. Feces in water is a problem because one gram of it can contain 10,000,000 viruses; 1,000,000, bacteria; 1,000 parasite cysts; and 100 parasite eggs. That’s a lot of things that can make you sick. The solution, however, is much less complicated. The number one way to prevent diarrheal disease is by access to safe water. Not only does this prevent direct infection by drinking, but it also prevents infection that could occur when gathering the dirty water for other uses.

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diarrhoeal_diseases_world_map_-_DALY_-_WHO2004.svg

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diarrhoeal_diseases_world_map_-_DALY_-_WHO2004.svg

Continue reading “What is in your Water?” »

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Sustainability. What’s Your Policy?

By Cara Goodman and Sara Corben

When it comes to water, what communities really need is a reliable source to provide clean water, and lots of it. All too often, disaster relief provides the easiest solutions; the short-term solutions.  According to the World Factbook, 11% of the world’s population currently lacks an improved source of drinking water (one that is protected from contamination). Water from unimproved sources is often contaminated with human, agricultural, or industrial waste; making it unsafe to drink due to its ability to spread disease or have other negative health effects.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2008-09-20_Dirty_water_spilling_from_a_bottle.jpg

commons.wikimedia.org

Wells provide an example of a short-term solution to a large-scale problem. Although wells and boreholes provide necessary water resources to suffering communities, too many aid organizations focus on providing a well without ensuring proper design, maintenance and upkeep. Water and sanitation foundation FairWater estimates that there are 50,000 dysfunctional water supply infrastructures in Africa, representing an investment of $215-360 million. In addition, a study done by the International Institute for Environment and Development found that 80 percent of wells in the Menaca region of Mali were dysfunctional, and 58 percent of waterpoints in Ghana were in need of repair. Although wells do provide short-term access to invaluable water supplies, without proper investment into design and maintenance, they fail to provide a long-term solution to the underlying issue of water scarcity. Continue reading “Sustainability. What’s Your Policy?” »

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Spotlight: South Africa and Water Scarcity

By Sara Corben

While 122 countries have voted in favor of water as a basic human right, South Africa has demonstrated its commitment to a person’s right to water by including in its Constitution a section which states, “Everyone has the right to have access to… sufficient food and water.” However, despite ongoing efforts to improve management and quality, the number with access to potable water still falls well below the universal goal championed in the country’s constitution.

The availability of water in South Africa varies greatly dependent upon location. While the west is dry, experiencing 100mm of rainfall a year, and only during the summer months, the east and southeast receive rainfall throughout the year, with an average around 1,000mm. Continue reading “Spotlight: South Africa and Water Scarcity” »

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Climate Change and Water Scarcity

By Sara Corben

This week, President Obama spoke on climate change, unveiling new plans to cut down on carbon emissions nationwide and providing direction for the United States to deal with the implications of climate change. According to the President’s speech, “The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years.” With the evidence of climate change becoming impossible to ignore, and with conversation centering on climate change, many are asking how these global changes will affect water scarcity.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global surface temperature has risen by 0.74oC in the past 100 years, with temperatures increasing more rapidly in the past 50 years. Continue reading “Climate Change and Water Scarcity” »

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Wind-Powered Desalination: The Australian Story

As the driest inhabited continent in the world and with a burgeoning population, Australia is increasingly relying on salt water desalination to supply fresh water to its 22 million people. Today, the country has the capacity to produce as much as 35 percent of its water through desalination technology, with more than six large-scale plants nationwide.  MP900382903

While desalination enables the country to tap into an over-abundant supply of salt water, it’s an expensive process, requiring extraordinary amounts of energy. For this reason, the country tied many of these plants to wind turbines, creating the largest wind-powered desalination systems in the world.

Forty-eight wind turbines power the desalination plants in Perth, providing as much as 40 million gallons of drinking water each day or 20 percent of Perth’s water consumption.  Another 63 wind turbines which came online in 2009 power Sydney’s desalination operation. Additional wind-powered desalination plants are being considered for Salisbury in southern Australia. Continue reading “Wind-Powered Desalination: The Australian Story” »

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The Economics of Water: How We Value This Scarce Resource

By Nicholas Brisbois

It is well known that water availability differs greatly around the world. Some communities have a seemingly unlimited flow as an uninterrupted stream of water emerges from their tap at any given moment; others walk for miles to fill small jugs with less-than-clean water. Along with this variability in access to water, comes a great difference in the price of water. People who live in well-developed countries might have a perception that the water they use is relatively cheap. They are accustomed to consuming water on a daily basis, sometimes using great quantities to perform tasks such as washing a car or watering a lawn. However, if those people were to go to a place where water isn’t so plentiful, such as parts of Africa, they would place a higher value on water. Continue reading “The Economics of Water: How We Value This Scarce Resource” »

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Wind & Water: the Perfect Pair

By Cara Goodman

Too often, poverty-stricken communities suffer without access to the most basic of human needs: clean water. One of the main barriers to clean water access is the fact that much of the earth’s water is contained in the oceans, and is too salty for humans to drink. So the question becomes, “What is the best way to remove the salt from the water?”

Process of Reverse Osmosis Source: thesis paper

Process of Reverse Osmosis
Source: thesis paper

Desalination plants are facilities that use a variety of technologies to remove salt from sea water, producing fresh water that is safe to drink. However, these plants require large amounts of energy input to process the water, and this can lead to prohibitively high costs. For generations, cost has been holding back the development of such facilities. As John F. Kennedy once said:

“If we could ever competitively, at a cheap rate, get fresh water from salt water, that would be in the long-range interest of humanity and would dwarf any other scientific accomplishments”

JFK notes that we need desalination to be competitive, and to implement that technology, we need it to be cheap. Currently,many desalination plants around the world are powered by diesel or other fossil fuels, the prices of which are rising rapidly. So how do we get cheaper electricity to power desalination plants? Continue reading “Wind & Water: the Perfect Pair” »

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Global Wind Day

On June 15, 2012 children across the United States gazed into the sky, their eyes following kites as they twisted and dipped in the wind. In Greece, children and adults painted pictures representing the invisible but powerful force, and in India, Austria, Russia and Germany people biked and ran in support of the magnificent, and often underappreciated, power of wind. These are only a few examples of the activities organized during last year’s celebration of Global Wind Day, a worldwide event coordinated by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

The first Global Wind Day was organized as a European holiday in 2007, but was expanded globally in 2009. Last year, more than 230 events were organized in 40 countries, ranging from tours of wind farms to video and photo contests intended to gather a collection of testimonials of the world’s growing love for wind power.wind-picture

But why is the world becoming increasingly enamored with wind power? “Because it’s free, it’s good for the environment, it provides jobs, and it will never run out,” states the Global Wind Day website. Wind is a valuable resource because it provides a clean source of renewable energy that produces no air or water pollution. Although the capital to produce wind turbines costs money, wind is free, making for extremely low operational costs following the construction of a turbine.

More than 75 countries around the world are home to operational wind turbines and wind farms. The largest of these turbines can generate enough electricity to supply almost 600 U.S. homes with electricity. Small turbines, on the other hand, can be used to power a single house or business. As of last quarter, the U.S. wind industry totaled 60,007 MW of cumulative wind capacity, with more than 45,100 turbines. In 2012, wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electricity generating capacity, providing 42% of all new generating capacity. Industry experts predict that if industry growth continues at its current rate, one third of the world’s electricity needs will be supplied by renewable wind energy by 2050.

The proliferation of renewable sources of energy might be the indication of a world which is moving in a more environmentally-friendly direction, and wind power is leading the way both in financial viability and environmental benefits. One 750 kW wind turbine saves enough greenhouse gases to fill a football stadium over 40 times. With over 45,100 turbines installed in the U.S. alone, significant changes can be made in the nation’s environmental footprint.

On June 15, the world will show its support for this rising source of power. From flash mobs to human representations of wind turbines, the creative gestures of love for wind power mirrors the innovative solutions the world is finding to address global concerns about traditional sources of energy.

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