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WATLY, THE MACHINE THAT USES THE SUN TO PURIFY WATER


WATLY, THE MACHINE THAT USES THE SUN TO PURIFY WATER

A design that could revolutionise renewable energy and be an invaluable help to developing countries. This is Watly - a water purifier that works on solar energy to separate and condense water vapour. Watly purifies polluted water and sea water by removing all contamination without the use of filters or membranes, and turns it into drinking water. And because it’s equipped with photovoltaic panels, it also generates power and can be connected to the internet anywhere that has a wifi connection.

Watly is also the name of the start-up which is developing the project, with a 15-strong team comprising engineers, experts in renewable energy, designers, creative talents and media experts. The project first started in 2013 and has achieved success and recognition over the last three years. Two fully functioning prototypes have been built so far, and a pre-production model is currently been assembled. The plan is to introduce Watly on the international market in September 2016. “It’s an ambitious project,” explains Marco Attisano, one of the founders of Watly, “but we know it works, and it’s an important development. Not least because the European Commission has put its faith in us with a grant that has enabled us to move forward and develop the pre-production model, which has a number of features that make it more attractive than the prototypes. The European Union has financed Watly to the tune of 2 million euros under the Horizon 2020 programme, and the start-up has also received the Corporate prize from the prestigious Marzotto Awards, amongst other accolades.

Specifically, Watly is a machine that captures solar energy and exposes water – sea water, polluted water and even radioactive water – to a temperature of 115 degrees, making it drinkable. Because it uses no filters or membranes there are no maintenance costs, which also keeps costs down. The machine is 35 metres long, weighs 10 tonnes and can purify 10,000 litres of water per day, generating 100 kilowatts of energy. Watly will be particularly important for developing countries and countries that have problems with access to water supply, like Israel and the UAE. Each machine is designed to supply the needs of 3,000 people. Watly will be of interest to governments and local authorities, and also to large energy companies who can use it to supply power to remote and hard-to-access communities.

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