The project proposal aims at elaborating the technological basis for simple, self-sustaining systems for the supply of clean and safe water to rural areas. All work will be closely tuned with the South African co-operation project.

The research and development necessary for water cleaning is based on electrochemical oxidation with diamond electrodes. This technology does not need additional chemicals as the oxidants are produced directly in the water by applying low voltage electrical energy. For this reason, the integration of off-grid photovoltaic energy supply will also be investigated.

The main focus will be on the adjustment to local rural circumstances and on the involvement and education of South African staff.

Once the model system has been tested successfully, the South African partners will coordinate the preparation of prototype systems and the conduction of field tests at selected South African test sites.

Important issues pertaining to the field tests will be the integration of solar energy supply and remote control for the prototypes as well as the involvement of local staff.

The goal for the future is that the South African partners or third companies can use the project results to fabricate, install and operate adjusted water cleaning systems in rural areas. The German companies will act either as suppliers of components or as research and development partners.

This will generate job and business opportunities in South Africa. In particular, the operation of the systems in cooperation with local water suppliers and communities will bring new, qualified jobs to rural areas and improve the quality of life by providing clean and safe water.

Project coordination: Fraunhofer Institute for
Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST

Dr. Lothar Schaefer: lothar.schaefer[at)ist.fraunhofer.de