Solar-powered water desalination plant / Tunisia
Inauguration of Desaltec-z1 at the Slim oil mill in Zarzis. The new plant desalts well water using the reverse osmosis process, powered by solar thermal energy. The plant was built by Solartech-Sud as part of the regional project “Creation of a manufacturing activity for mini thermal water desalination plants using renewable energies to promote sustainable industrial and agricultural development in the region”. Capacity: 3.1 m3 of water per hour, for 4.2 m3 of water per hour drawn from the well, giving an efficiency of over 73%. The process is based on the principle of salt-water separation using a semi-permeable membrane that needs to be changed periodically. The plant is powered by solar thermal energy. It consumes 2 kWh/m3 of electricity and reduces salinity levels by 90% (from 8.9 g/l to 0.7 g/l). The project was conceived by Ahmed Friaa, former director of the École Nationale des Ingénieurs de Tunis, and implemented by seven Tunisian engineers. In 2017, the invention was patented by the Institut national de la normalisation et de la propriété industrielle (Innorpi) – (Africa 21 – October 2023).