Recycling waste water in Morocco using ESA-developed technology and sustainable energy sources
Recycling waste water and urine into drinking water is not only for astronauts – the same method is treating groundwater for a school in Morocco. The village of Sidi Taïbi near Kenitra has grown rapidly in recent years, and providing fresh water to its inhabitants is difficult because the groundwater is so rich in nitrates and fertiliser it is unsuitable for human consumption. MELiSSA expertise: ESA has been working for over 20 years on the best recipe for a closed life-support system that processes waste and delivers fresh oxygen, food and water to astronauts. One of the discoveries is how to build and control organic and ceramic membranes with holes just one ten-thousandth of a millimetre across. These tiny pores can filter out unwanted compounds in water, in particular nitrate. With help from a UNESCO partnership, the University of Kenitra looked to apply this new approach to tackle their drinking-water problem. Building on ESA’s experience with membranes, French company Firmus teamed up with Germany’s Belectric to build a self-sustaining unit powered by solar panels and wind energy.