A clean technology company has created a photovoltaic computer which generates clean water, electicity, and connectivity using solar power and claims it will have a transformative effect on the developing world. Jim Drury reports.
Poor access to clean water blights much of the developing world. Italian firm Watly says its solar-powered photovoltaic computer is the answer. Founder Marco Attisani says solar heat collected by vacuum-tubes vaporises and sanitises water fed into the Watly 3.0 within two hours. But that's not all it does.... SOUNDBITE (English) CEO & FOUNDER OF WATLY, MARCO ATTISANI, SAYING: "Through photovoltaic technologies we actually generate electricity off the grid that can be used for empowering the machine itself, the electronics inside the machine but as well for recharging external devices - thousands of them, such as portable phones, computers." Each unit communicates with a Central Network Management Platform and other units via radio-link, 3G or 4G networks, and satellite connections. Watly has started an Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign to fund its third version, which will be 40 metres long. Watly 2.0 proved a hit when given to residents of Abenta Village in Ghana. SOUNDBITE (English) CEO & FOUNDER OF WATLY, MARCO ATTISANI, SAYING: "This technology does not patronise them with water wells. I'm not at all criticising this solution but you can't uplift a community around the world in the 21st Century by digging wells....You need to bring there water, yes; electricity which is the fire of the modern era, and connectivity because if you are off-line you are not in the present." Each unit should produce up to 5,000 litres of water a day and will last for 15 years. Emission free, it will save up to 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifespan, says the company. A single unit will cost 400,000 euros but Watly hopes this will be borne by outside investors, and says each device pays for itself within 18 months.