Water purification technology will curb scarcity in Africa – Researcher

Angela Onwuzoo  

As some African countries are critically water insecure, a Nigerian-born researcher, Dr Ojodomo Achadu of Teesside University, United Kingdom, is leading a groundbreaking research team developing solar-powered water purification for the developing world.

In collaboration with experts from South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Achadu is spearheading the development of solar-powered water purification technologies that could potentially address the global problem of clean water and sanitation that will improve the quality of life for millions across Africa.

The new system will provide a “portable and affordable way” of purifying and removing pollutants from water.

Access to clean water is fundamental to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, yet billions worldwide still struggle with water scarcity or pollution.

According to the World Meteorological Association, by 2050, up to five billion people may face inadequate access to clean water.

Many African countries, despite their abundant water resources, see millions of citizens consuming contaminated water, adversely impacting their health, and living conditions.

Hence, innovative technologies that could address the most pressing issues with clean water and sanitation are a matter of global importance.

Achadu, a leading researcher with extensive experience in nanotechnology research, is at the forefront of this innovation.

With a Ph.D. in Chemistry/Nanochemistry from Rhodes University, he is a recipient of various prestigious research fellowships in France, Japan, and the UK, which have been instrumental in the design and will help steer the development of the revolutionary water purification technology.

The project has received £300,000 from the Royal Society’s International Science Partnerships Fund.

Achadu proposes to develop cutting-edge technology using tiny particles known as nanomaterials that can remove contaminants and pathogens in a single step to purify polluted water.

The system also integrates a follow-up automated detection of pathogens to ensure water safety. This process harnesses the power of nanomaterials and solar energy to purify water efficiently and affordably, particularly benefiting isolated and rural communities that need clean and safe water supplies.

Designed to be sustainable, this water purification technology utilizes free solar power, making it ideal for Africa, where abundant sunlight can be harnessed to easily purify water.

This reduces reliance on electrically powered water supply infrastructure and allows local communities to treat water collected from various sources.

In Nigeria, experts say this technology could mitigate water scarcity caused by oil pollution in the Niger Delta as well as contamination from flooding and mining activities in other regions of the country.

This innovative approach aligns with the strategic vision of Nigeria’s Vice President Kashim Shettima, who advocates for leveraging advanced technologies like nanotechnology to drive economic transformation.

Shettima highlighted the crucial role such technologies would play in Nigeria’s development and its goal of becoming a leading economy in Africa.

Achadu expressed his gratitude for the Royal Society’s funding, emphasising the project’s potential to enhance global health and well-being.

He underscored the importance of ensuring safe drinking water for all, marking this initiative as a pivotal moment in applying advanced science and nanotechnology to real-world problems.

Achadu’s work at Teesside University showcases how scientific innovations can tackle urgent global challenges with impacts, offering a sustainable solution that could transform water access and public health across numerous developing regions globally.

The user-friendly design of the water purification technology aims to empower communities by providing them with access to clean water and improving their quality of life.

This initiative not only signifies a remarkable technological advancement but also serves as a beacon of hope for sustainable development in Africa and beyond.




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