Desalination of Water in Arid and Semi-arid areas in Kenya

Region: Kenya

The Challenge

The arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya face frequent drought conditions and the available surface water is not safe for consumption due to pathogen contamination. This compels reliance on groundwater which is often very deep and has dangerously high saline concentration. There is a dire need to come up with affordable and effective solutions to remove salt from bore holes and wells to make the water safe for human consumption.

The Purdue Innovation

The lab proposes the use of a novel reverse osmosis technology, called Batch Reverse Osmosis, that is relatively more efficient and provides superior fouling resistance for reducing maintenance frequency and cost. The system is powered with photovoltaic solar panels to take advantage of the plentiful solar resources in the region and as a result, produce a cost competitive, energy efficient and modular photovoltaic batch reserve osmosis (PV-BRO) desalination system.  The team is studying how to use desalination to create safe drinking water, without making the brine too salty for local uses such as crops, livestock, or washing.  To do so, the team is gathering information about local borehole salt concentrations, and studying the tolerance of each salt for each possible water use.  

The Partners

Purdue University:  

  • David M. Warsinger, Ph.D., School of Mechanical Engineering

World Concern and Moi University