According to Eyewitness News online, “South Africa is facing its own water crisis and is currently ranked the 30th driest country in the world”.With the growing need for access to drinkable water in the country, sustainable and cost-effective water purification methods have become imperative.
A social entrepreneur called Murendeni Mafumo, saw this need and created a solution specific to the needs of South Africa. He got this opportunity through an entrepreneurship competition at the Innovation Hub. He then joined forces with Resolution Circle in developing his solution called the Kusini water-filtration plant.
The 31-year-old was born in Thohoyondou, Limpopo— a province that is extremely affected by water scarcity and access to clean, drinkable water. His passion for science began when he was still in high school, this led him to study chemistry at the Cape Technikon. He has worked for both the City of Cape Town and Johannesburg Water.
Mafumo witnessed the gap that exists between the affluent regions of the country and rural areas in terms of water treatment, and how the centralised process makes building up water treatment solutions expensive. He then took the opportunity to develop a solution that effectively meets the growing needs of communities in South Africa.
The entrepreneur has considered adopting international solutions to solve this South African issue. “I have embarked on a journey to find the latest development in water treatment by going to the Middle East as they are considered leaders in water technology”, says Mafumo, he adds.
His company, Kusini Water, developed a mobile, low-cost, solar-powered water purification system that uses multiple filtration stages in purifying either ground or rainwater. According to Mafumo, the process of reverse osmosis to purify water is widely used in the industry even though it uses more water during the purification stage. His water-filtration plant is an off-grid solution that uses locally sourced macadamia nut shells to provide safe drinking water. The shells are crushed and used in an activated carbon filter, which removes pollutants.
Now that there is a working prototype, Kusini Water and Resolution Circle will scale the system up to an industrial quality water-filtration plant that will meet the stringent requirements needed for drinking water.
Mechanical Engineer, Adriaan de Villiers, explained that Resolution Circle, with its focus on providing support to start-up technology companies, will assist Murendeni with engineering expertise to industrialise his product.
Kusini Water is built on three important goals that address saving and recycling water, being (1) the cost of electricity in water production, (2) the final cost of the product, and (3) the wastewater solution that meets the regulatory standards set by the Department of Water & Sanitation.
The Kusini water-filtration plant is an off-grid solution. It uses solar, which means there will be no electricity required from the municipality for the system to operate. According to Mafumo, the final cost of the product will be based on its infrastructure cost, service intervals and lifespan. This system also eliminates the wastewater problem experienced by water-filtration plants that use reverse osmosis.
Murendeni envisions the system being able to detect the amount of water used on each floor in buildings, to ensure that there is no water loss. He also wants to improve the system to alert technicians of possible leaks, pipe bursts etc. should water usage skyrocket unexpectedly.
With Resolution Circle now helping Murendeni to develop the filtration plant he always envisaged, there is a need for investors to fund the Kusini Water-filtration plant for further development and commercialisation. Murendeni is inviting companies and municipalities who may be interested in this technology to partake in the pilot phase.
For more information or funding opportunities please email Murendeni Mafumoon: email@example.com