Water from waste heat
The island of Gulhi, in Kaafu atoll in the Maldives became the first place in the world to produce desalinated drinking water using waste heat from electricity generation. The project – a joint venture of the state-owned electricity supplier STELCO and U.K.-registered charity the Aquiva Foundation – will produce around 8000 liters of water for local consumption. A membrane distillation unit has been installed behind the island’s generator which will use the excess heat produced by the cooling system to induce the distilling process.
The lack of fresh drinking water in the country’s 190 inhabited islands – made worse with the contamination of groundwater following the 2004 tsunami – leaves most communities reliant on rainwater and vulnerable to shortages during the dry season.
The project will also lead to a reduction of waste – a perennial problem in the Maldives – as reusable containers will be used to collect the distilled water and distribute it to households, before being returned to the desalination plant.