Their trip was initiated by Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and the aim was to look at the current water system and define the needs of the local population. The lack of drinking water in Pozo Colorado, which has 1,700 inhabitants, is the greatest problem facing this village.
The engineers were also supposed to assess the opportunities available for setting up a desalination plant, define a technical solution and present it to the local interests involved. Multiconsult has had a joint venture agreement with EWB since September 2013. In December Multiconsult was tasked by EWB with investigating renewable energy and providing guidance for students in Paraguay. Stanislas Merlet, a consultant on solar energy, was given the job.
– It is exciting to use our expertise on meaningful projects. Some technical solutions can really change the lives of individuals around the world.
– It is exciting to use our expertise on meaningful projects. Some technical solutions can really change the lives of individuals around the world. The joint venture agreement between EWB and Multiconsult is a great opportunity for doing this. The company’s management are very enthusiastic and the internal application process was easy. It was a fantastic experience, both from a professional and personal point of view, says Stanisas Merlet from Multiconsult.
This project was initiated by Ren-PEACE (Renewable Energy Action for Lasting Peace). The aim is to assess the opportunities available for setting up a desalinsation plant using energy supplies based on solar cells in Pozo Colorado in Paraguay. Two students at the NTNU, Ingerid Zeiner and Johannes Waatevik, are writing Meaningful Masters theses about this project. They are both in their final year at the IME Faculty
– I chose this Masters project because I saw that it provided an opportunity to make a difference for people who do not have much. Working on the production of drinking water, which is such a basic requirement for all life, seemed to be meaningful. At the same time the assignment was about making use of renewable sources of energy, something which I am very interested in and would like to work on after I have finished studying. Renewable energy is the future,” says Ingerid Zeiner, a Masters student in the NTNU’s Energy and Environment Department.
From subsoil water to drinking water
The Paraguay authorities installed a chemical water treatment plant in 2008. This plant took water from the town’s puddles and treated it with aluminium sulphate. However, the distribution system is now in poor shape and the chemicals are no longer available. The population therefore treats puddle water with chlorine at home or they drink it as they find it. This has been causing many health problems in the town.
– The planned plant will make use of reverse osmosis to desalinate subsoil water. This technology is now a well tried and tested system which has been shown to be reliable in many countries. The plant which has been designed could produce 80,000 litres per day. It has been connected to the electricity network and solar energy ensures the distribution of water in the event of any power cuts. The aim of the project is to start construction soon for the population of Pozo Colorado, but it will also serve as a pilot project which can be repeated elsewhere, says Mr. Merlet.