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Commercialisation of an innovative solar-powered village potable water supply

Mathew, K., Dallas, S.ORCID: 0000-0003-4379-1482, Ho, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 and Anda, M.ORCID: 0000-0001-7398-4192 (1999) Commercialisation of an innovative solar-powered village potable water supply. In: Solar 99 Conference: Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society, 1 - 4 December, Geelong, Vic, Australia

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The Remote Area Developments Group (RADG) at Murdoch University in collaboration with local manufacturers Venco Products Pty Ltd and Solar Energy Systems Pty Ltd have developed a self-contained water supply and treatment system which is entirely solar-powered. The system is currently undergoing on-site trials at RADG’s Environmental Technology Centre and is proposed for field trials in a remote Aboriginal community in Western Australia. RADG has been involved in the research and development of appropriate water supply and treatment systems units suitable for remote areas for over ten years. Research carried out by the group while working in remote Aboriginal communities in the late 1980’s resulted in development of production prototype with industry partner Venco Products of the Solarflow – a solar-powered reverse osmosis desalination unit. The most recent work has seen the Solarflow become integrated with a locally designed and manufactured water pumping system which is also solar-powered. Most remote Aboriginal communities rely on groundwater for their potable water supplies, however, this is a source which is often highly mineralised and in excess of the recommended drinking water quality guidelines for long term human consumption. The proposed installation at a community in the central lands is able to demonstrate a self-contained, solar powered water supply system which provides 400 litres/day of high quality, desalinated drinking water, an amount of water sufficient for up to 40 people. A system capable of meeting the requirements of larger communities of up to 150 people which can provide 1500 litre/day is currently in the prototype stage and under going performance monitoring before entering commercial production. The project can be linked to training programs in the area and will also be accessible by surrounding communities. This paper will describe the findings to date and the areas where further research is indicated.

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