Photosynthesis to purify water in Sahelian countries

Improving water quality and reducing operating costs


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BP: 5666 N'Djmena,
TD Chad


About the project Edit

Sahelian countries are all marked by extreme poverty and water treatment for consumption very often suffers. It is often reported that water purification stations do not respect drinking water standards set by the WHO and in all cases will rarely get to the end of the water treatment process that is called for.

It is always too expensive and unprofitable to follow all of the technique’s steps and adapted inputs or that some of the necessary products are not available on site. In all cases, eliminating heavy metals is rarely a concern for the companies concerned.

This situation is far from satisfactory, especially in large centres contracted to the company charged with operating and distributing water. In small centre where construction work is given to the communities, we unfortunately do not find functional or operating treatment centres that respect the norms. The lack of operational means is often the reason that justifies this statement of fact.


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Using algae for photosynthesis would reduce a purification plant’s operating costs by 85%. With this technique, chemical products, technical staff and certain steps in the process are no longer necessary. Indeed, using algae on sand filters by the sun’s rays actually boosts photosynthesis in the Sahel would increase the rate that oxygen is dissolved in water which in turn, would encourage the precipitation of heavy metals into compounds.

By creating an active food chain on the filters, algae eliminates bacteria and other viruses. This system purifies water by more than 98% and only needs one person to clean the sand filters for it to work.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

This low-cost technique also lowers operating costs by between 70% and 80% and can generate profits of more than 60%. Even with no education, it can be done properly by anyone, but mostly by rural communities.

It allows communities to always have high quality water and to finally get out of the cycle of disease linked to consuming contaminated drinking water. The system does not need the sun to work at an optimal level. It is reproducible and will be very viable in at least the entire Sahelian band.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The low costs associated to setup and operation, its great potential to be adapted to the social and Sahelian climate conditions, its ownership by people who have not been to school, its durability and water quality obtained by the system.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Extreme poverty in the Sahelian country, particularly in rural areas, multiple deficiencies in the traditional operating and public water distribution systems, various illnesses and other epidemics linked to these deficiencies, particularly in rural areas and the need to have a “proper” system.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

Social and economic development


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