Solar Power for Clean Water

The company SolarDew is capable of producing clean and safe drinking water from seawater, brackish water, and even water contaminated with substances like arsenic or fluoride. To achieve this, they utilize a very simple technology that relies solely on solar heat and gravity. The Netherlands Enabling Watertechnology Fund, together with Oost NL and VOx Impuls, is investing in SolarDew. With a total investment of over 1 million euros, the startup can take the final steps in developing their innovative water purification technology, aiming to provide clean drinking water to more than 1 million people by 2030.

Water from evaporation and condensation SolarDew has a solution that focuses on households and communities, especially in remote areas with little or no infrastructure. The company uses an innovative membrane distillation technology that optimizes the natural processes of evaporation and condensation with the help of a unique membrane. SolarDew’s product resembles a kind of solar panel, but instead of converting sunlight into electricity, the panel directly uses heat to produce drinking water. “For example, seawater is pumped into the system, and the heat from the sun causes the water to evaporate. The water vapor then passes through a membrane that prevents salts, heavy metals, viruses, and bacteria from passing through. The clean water is collected, while the concentrated dirty water is discharged,” explains Alexander van der Kleij, CEO and one of the founders of SolarDew. An additional advantage of SolarDew’s solution is that it is a modular system that is easily scalable, making it suitable for both households and communities.

With an investment of over 1 million euros, SolarDew can take the final steps to further develop their product and prepare it for production. Key steps include validating the product in the field. “With this investment, we can build a first water station this year in collaboration with Ballast Nedam, for use in one of their infrastructure projects in Africa. Additionally, the investment enables us to qualify for additional funding from the European Innovation Council,” says Van der Kleij.

Allard van der Horst, Investment Manager for the Netherlands Enabling Watertechnology Fund, states: “Solar Dew has developed an innovative solution for producing clean drinking water on-site. They are in the final Proof of Concept phase, with plans to set up a pilot installation in the second half of this year for validation in collaboration with launching customer Ballast Nedam. We have confidence in the product development and the Solar Dew team. In terms of the type of company and the stage they are at, Solar Dew aligns well with the objectives of the NEW fund: providing financing to innovative startups in the water technology sector.”

This article is a rewritten piece from Van lucht naar drinkwater. Check for more detailed information (Dutch only).