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Technology for electricity, drinking water in rural Kenya

The Microsol project has been inaugurated in Kenya, by Schneider Electric, the aim being to develop a single, modular standard technology for producing electricity, drinking water and heat simultaneously, primarily to benefit micro-industries located in rural areas of countries with high levels of sunshine, especially in Africa.

Microsol is based on the principle of cogeneration of electricity and heat, applying a new approach to a technology that is already widespread – solar thermodynamics. The solution focuses its constraints on the design of thermal storage that only uses environmentally-friendly products.

Its purpose is to simultaneously meet three basic needs: Access to electricity that is reliable, efficient and inexpensive; Clean drinking water that is produced economically and consistently; and Heat generation that is continuous and environmentally sound.

A Microsol solution produces 50 MWh/year of electricity, 1,000 m3/year of drinking water, and around 800 MWh/year of thermal energy. The solution has an expected life of at least 20 years.

“That technology can help Africa’s poorest countries,” Pradeep Monga, director of the Energy & Climate Change Branch of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), says.

After market research, a consortium led by Schneider Electric chose Kenya as pilot country for the industrialisation and commercialisation of Microsol. Kenya meets a set of favourable conditions for the establishment and development of this solution. The consortium plans to start the commercialisation phase in 2015.