SA innovators create water purification facilities with macadamia nut shells for schools

23 March 2021 - 07:00
Kusini Water’s solar-powered water filtration system
Kusini Water’s solar-powered water filtration system
Image: Supplied

Two SA innovators have created water treatment facilities to assist communities and schools that do not have access to clean water.

Murendeni Mafumo, the founder of Kusini Water, and Andre Nel, the owner of Eco-V, invented the facilities to help pupils who are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases.

Kusini Water invented a water filtration system that uses macadamia nut shells to filter water.

“Globally, charcoal or coconut shells are the standard for water filtration, but after months of research, we found that not only are macadamia nut shells freely available in SA, but they carry similar properties to the above-mentioned materials,” said Mafumo.

He said the filtration system was solar-powered and a sustainable project to run at local schools.

“Over 15 million South Africans lack access to secure water and sanitation services,” Mafumo said.

Kusini Water launched their site on Monday, which was World Water Day, at Reneilwe Primary School in Temba, Hammanskraal.

The launch unveiled the new water treatment plant that provides clean and safe water for the community of Temba in partnership with DuPont and the US embassy in SA.

Mafumo said they chose Hammanskraal for their water purification plant as the water in the area contained high levels of nitrates and phosphates and was not fit for human consumption.

Eco-V’s GreenTower-manufactured microgrids improve energy and water security in large communities such as old age homes and schools by harvesting solar energy and alternative water sources.

They aim to provide energy, water and health security as a service at 1,000 large SA urban high schools within the next five years.

“GreenTower technology conserves potable water using treated borehole water where possible and recycling greywater for toilet and garden use. Purified ozone-treated water improves health naturally by oxygenation along with microbe, fungus, bacteria and virus disinfection for drinking, cleaning and bathing,” said Nel.

“Water scarcity and pollution are major problems, not only for South Africans and our environment, but for our economy as well,” said Pieter Holl, CEO of the Innovation Hub.

“Innovations from entrepreneurs such as Kusini Water and Eco-V are prime examples of customised solutions to tackle SA’s water-related problems,” he added.

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