First Solar Desalination Project in the Indian Ocean!

20 July 2017

On July 10th, Mascara Renewable Water and its partner Quadran launched the first solar desalination project in the Indian Ocean for the Rodrigues Regional Assembly. In addition to the Indian Ocean Commission and the French Fund for the Global Environment (FFEM), the project’s financial partners, numerous distinguished guests attended the event, including the Ambassador of France in Mauritius, The French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Union representative in Mauritius.

 

An Island suffering from acute water stress

The study carried out by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the national utility EDF in 2009 “Securing the water supply of the population in Rodrigues” perfectly defines the extreme situation of the island of Rodrigues. It presents various actions to undertake to address this issue, building water reservoirs to store water from wells and desalination options with a significant development of renewable energies.

However, today’s water supply situation of the island remains catastrophic: the population is supplied with water three hours a month and in the best conditions three hours a week. Mr. Louis Serge CLAIR, Chief Commissioner of Rodrigues evokes a need of 12 000m3 / day on the island to achieve water autonomy.

Water supply is the core concern of the Regional Assembly of Rodrigues. This was a key topic of the regional election’s campaign, and it is promise of the new mandate that is already included in the 2017-2018 budget with a commitment to consolidate the water sector to better supply the population.

The supply of fresh water by desalination of seawater is intrinsically linked to the energy supply of the desalination plants. On Rodrigues Island, the subsidized price of electricity for the power supply of the desalination units of the island causes significant losses to the Central Electricity Board (CEB).

 

An Innovative and Responsible to address the Island’s Need for Freshwater

The Indian Ocean Commission (through the European Union) and the French Fund for the Global Environment (FFEM) financially support the installation in Rodrigues of a solar desalination unit of 80m3 per day, technically enabled to produce up to 240m3, by connecting the installation to the electrical grid at night, using the wind energy available on that timeslot. This pilot project for the island aims at the economic, technical and operational validation of the OSMOSUN® solar desalination technology to address local water and energy concerns.

The OSMOSUN® solar desalination units act as a flexible load on the electrical grid, load shedding all or part of their consumption at any time. This solar-network hybrid installation will enable Central Electricity Board teams to learn how to collaborate in field conditions with Mascara Renewable Water teams for a smart use of the available energy. The OSMOSUN® technology and its OSMOLOAD use to regulate the network load will eventually increase the penetration of renewable energies into the Rodrigues electricity network.

 

Substantial media coverage

The launch event of the project has been covered by the national television news of MBC Radio in Mauritius:

(in French, with Youtube subtitles available)