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Once you suppose how the ocean covers greater than 70 p.c of the floor of our planet, and 40 p.c of the world’s inhabitants (2.4 billion folks) lives inside 60 miles of the coast, it’s baffling to know that on this day of superior science and know-how, billions of individuals nonetheless should not have entry to secure ingesting water, or for primary hygiene at dwelling, or to water their crops. The necessity for an modern resolution to resolve the water shortage problem is extra pressing than ever, which is why the work of the deep tech startup Manhat appears like a unprecedented breakthrough.
The corporate’s know-how is essential as it’s estimated that by 2050, the Center East and Africa might be dwelling to about 3.4 billion folks, propelling the necessity for elevated water provides, that are already a scarce useful resource within the area.
Water, water in all places, but not a drop to drink
The continuing lack of entry to water is basically as a result of sea water is locked within the type of salty water, counting on desalination to make it usable. Desalination is pricey and has environmental penalties. Solely 3 p.c of the world’s water is freshwater, and two-thirds of that’s trapped in glaciers or in any other case unavailable to be used. Rising sea ranges coupled with erratic rainfall as a consequence of international warming are different causes for water and meals shortage points.
Though it has an extended shoreline, 80 p.c of the United Arab Emirates’ land is desert, making it one of many world’s most water-scarce international locations.
“The agricultural sector is accountable for two-thirds of all water consumption within the UAE, and we don’t have pure recent our bodies of water. We’ve got underground water which isn’t enough for sustaining our economic system as a result of it requires purification earlier than utilization. In the mean time, the UAE depends upon desalination, which is energy-intensive, contributes to CO2 emissions and produces brine,” explains Dr. Saeed Alhassan Alkhazraji, the founding father of Manhat and a winner of the Water Europe Innovation Awards 2022.
Dr. Alhassan added one other problem with desalination: “The waste brine is often poured again into the oceans, which endangers aquatic life.”
A deep tech resolution to water shortage within the UAE
The Emirati-founded deep tech startup has invented a photo voltaic water distillation know-how that may produce usable water by trapping the misplaced evaporated water from the ocean. The startup’s resolution entails inserting a big greenhouse assemble on the seashore, then counting on photo voltaic rays to warmth the water so it evaporates (as proven above). After that, the ascending water vapor condenses when it touches the cooler facet of the assemble, being collected and saved as distilled water, with no waste, brine or emissions.
That is unbelievable particularly while you notice that the water evaporating from the Arabian Gulf is no less than 84 cubic miles (350 cubic kilometers) per 12 months, roughly ten instances larger than the entire desalinated water produced yearly within the area, in response to Manhat.
“Our know-how is patented, and its novelty is its capability to provide water from open water surfaces (reminiscent of seas, rivers and lakes),” Dr. Alhassan says. “There’s different know-how that has been available on the market for many years, but it surely has limitations together with being based mostly on land and producing brine. Since our know-how is on open water surfaces, we solely seize water vapor which doesn’t include any salt, so we do not have to cope with brine which is dangerous to aquatic life.”
Manhat has examined numerous prototypes of its know-how each anchored and floating. Each have been deployed round Abu Dhabi in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Ports and the developer group Alreem Island. Anchored gadgets have been put in into the concrete partitions of the corniche [Abu Dhabi’s waterfront], whereas floating gadgets have been deployed on water surfaces. “We’ve got been capable of showcase the water manufacturing course of with out utilizing any electrical energy, therefore, zero carbon dioxide emissions.”
Water producing know-how that integrates with floating farm options
The startup can be constructing floating farm options that combine with their water distillation know-how.
“As soon as you may produce water sustainably, it opens the door for fixing each water shortage and meals safety, as a result of availability of water is a prerequisite to agricultural actions on a big scale,” Dr. Alhassan continues. “Our know-how mimics the pure water cycle with zero carbon footprint or brine rejection. The water might be instantly used to irrigate crops which is able to profit coastal international locations and mitigate the looming menace of rising sea ranges as a consequence of local weather change.”
Tackling the problem of meals safety, the Abu Dhabi authorities’s financial accelerator program, Ghadan 21, is concentrated on agriculture know-how. As soon as totally deployed, the ag tech monetary bundle is forecast to contribute $449.3 million to GDP, create 2,900 new jobs and contribute to the emirate’s purpose of accelerating home meals manufacturing by 40 p.c.
“We’re the one water know-how that may be built-in to offer floating farm options,” Dr. Alhassan says. “There are only a few floating farms all over the world they usually all rely on grid water, both groundwater or water from desalination vegetation, which negatively impacts the setting.”
Presently in seed stage, Manhat is working in the direction of funding its groundbreaking deep tech pilot. “Our subsequent purpose is to launch a pilot floating farm to develop mushrooms and generate income,” he concludes. “We anticipate the pilot venture to be constructed and evaluated over 12 to 18 months. After this analysis interval, we’ll develop our know-how to cowl different crops together with wheat and rice. In 5 years, we’d have know-how to develop completely different crops of excessive business worth. If we’re profitable, we’ll develop our know-how globally.”
Picture credit: Manhat