Purifying seawater is an extortionate process worth a lot of bucks, but Quench Sea, A Dubai-based startup is developing a desalination device that’s as low-priced as $70 (AED 257).
For those of us who’ve lived in the UAE long enough, let’s admit it, we’ve rarely spared a thought about where freshwater comes into our homes from. It’s as simple as turning the tap on and off. However, this is the time we need to take the matter seriously, with numerous less economically developed countries suffering from droughts and famine, deprived of access to fresh water.
Photograph credit: Pikrepo
Take Yemen, for example, the nearest country from the UAE suffering extensively from lack of fresh water. The United Nations’ humanitarian aid counterpart, UNICEF claims 18 million are in need of water and sanitisation to survive amid the Iran-Saudi Arabia proxy conflict and natural disasters on the coasts of Al Hudaydah. A YouTube search of the crisis in Yemen shows a plethora of footage of displaced Yemenis walking hundreds of miles in search of water. You can see it for yourself here.
Freshwater is set to be more important than oil
Sure, oil is the lifeline for any developed cosmopolitan, but the world is seeing a surge in increasing dependence on freshwater. A report by the World Health Organization says 2.2 billion don’t have “safely managed drinking water services,” which roughly estimates to one in three people without access to fresh water.
Photograph credit: PxFuel
Seawater desalination an expensive process
Simply put, desalinating groundwater can cost $0.66 (AED 2.42) per m3, meaning $2.49 (AED 9.15) per thousand gallons. It costs a whopping $658 million (AED2.4b) to build a desalination plant to produce 100 millions of gallons per day.
A crisis always calls for an opportunity, and the last decade saw rampant desalination innovations in an attempt to sustain global freshwater supplies. An array of water-tech startups are reshaping the desalination process using new techniques to convert seawater into freshwater thanks to funding by venture-capitalists and angel investors. It’s safe to say the segment has massive potential.
Quench Sea in the works to develop the world’s most affordable portable seawater desalination device
Meanwhile, Quench Sea, a Dubai-based startup is working on what could potentially be the world’s most affordable desalination device that can cost a mere $70 (AED 257). A quick search on Google shows portable devices ranging from $426 (AED 1,564) to $3,495 (AED 12,837).
Quench Sea’s device filters out salt, microbes (bacteria and viruses) and microplastics that operates without batteries or electricity and can desalinate a glass of seawater in just five minutes. It can purify over two litres of seawater every hour.
Photograph credit: Supplied
Reverse osmosis water desalination
It encompasses reverse osmosis to desalinate water. Here’s how the process works:
“Reverse Osmosis, commonly referred to as RO, is a process where water is de-mineralised under pressure through a semi-permeable membrane. The pressure required to desalinate seawater to freshwater is around 60 bar (6,000 kPa). The Quench Sea device replicates this pressure through a unique hydraulic system. During the reverse osmosis process, the reject brine is ejected from the device via an outflow tube. No salts remain in the device.”Quench Sea
Desalination testings have been conducted in Dubai and the Persian Gulf, with results showing 43,000 total dissolved solids (TDS), on the of the highest salinity rates in the world. It’s also worth mentioning their device has been tested by TUV Nord, a stalwart in water quality testing.
As of now, a prototype of the device has been launched on the crowd-funding website, Indiegogo, with orders touted to be delivered by 2021. In fact, they’re donating one device for every purchase! You can also head to their website for more information about their project.
Photograph credit: Supplied
(Featured photograph credit: Piklist)