Solar-powered Watly Brings Safe Water, Electricity, Internet to Remote Areas
Water, power, connectivity are the three things that have become key essentials for communities to survive and thrive. But there are people in the world today who still lack access to these. More than 663 million people have no access to clean water, 1.2 billion people have no access to electricity, and 4 billion people are still not connected to the internet.
Wanting to respond to these gaps, a group of young engineers and forward-thinkers have come together to build system that will give hope to people affected by these crises. Lead by founder and CEO Marco A. Attisani, they all came up with Watly, a modular system that utilizes thermal solar energy to power a one-stop shop for clean and safe drinking water, electricity charging, and connectivity to the internet.
The concept of Watly
The Italy and Spain-based start-up company leverages on clean energy and green technology to deliver its outputs. The first prototype, Watly 1.0, was a minimum viable product (MVP) that did not cost too much had it failed entirely. Experimenting essentially with solar panels, Watly 1.0 was inclined at 45 degrees to capture sunlight. This wasn’t too effective however as the device was only exposed to the sun half of the time.
Instead of an inclined solar panel, an arc design was adopted to maximize its exposure to the sun. Thus it was called Watly 2.0. This eventually became the standard design of Watly and it was combined with other modules as well in order to come up with the final Watly 3.0 system hub by 2014. In addition, Watly has its own artificial intelligence (Watly AI or WAI) that can run the whole hub independently and even recognize its users.
Watly has found a string of supporters including private companies and individuals. Through crowdfunding, Watly was able to accelerate its production and has opened its doors for orders from consumers. The website Indiegogo shows posts Watly with more than 334 backers and a current funding of more than $16,000 out of the $75,000 target.
Watly was also able to secure certificates of quality and respective patents for its technology.and has been tested in major plazas across Europe including France and Spain. Raves for the technology has been spreading online and in the media, especially with what it could offer to end-users. Here’s what Watly can do:
- Gives clean water
Watly has its own water purification system powered by its solar panels. Using a technology called vapor compression distillation, Watly can turn ocean water and even pollution water into safe drinking water. It can desalinate water and remove toxins and bacteria as well in an 8-step distillation process. Once distilled, water is stored in 5000 liter containers with UV lamps.
- Provides electricity
Watly, given that it can be set up in almost any location, can also provide electricity even in the most remote or off-grid areas. In places where electricity is absent, Watly can operate independently by generating and using its own power. All the devices used in hub does not need any other source of power. In fact, it can also generate enough power to share to external gadgets. With a touchscreen console and a charging station, users can easily charge or plug their devices.
- Connects to the internet
Surprisingly, with the advent of the internet age, connectivity has finally become an essential tool for survival. Watly, capable of generating its own power, is also able to support wireless connectivity to users. It can interact with humans though its AI and console interface, and it can communicate with other Watly hubs as well all over the world. This will form the so-called “Energynet” which gathers data for the usage of Watly hubs.
In addition to these features, Watly also included the W-tank, a 5-liter container than can transport water free from contamination. It also has the Wlight which can serve as lamp or flashlight that can be charged at a Watly hub. Drones are also utilized and deployed for various purposes as well.
With Watly’s centerpiece as the solar panels, this serves as proof that thermal energy can be applied in different ways aside from installing solar panels on roofs.
A pilot project has been launched in Ghana recently and the outcomes have been promising..
Not only does Watly respond to a single basic need, but to three important necessities in order for mankind to thrive in the next century.