Touted by its creators as the world’s largest solar-powered computer, the Watly machine’s mission is to provide electricity, clean water and Internet services that could transform lives and economies across rural Africa.
The system works by capturing solar energy through photovoltaic panels on the surface of the Watly module, which is converted into electricity through an internal 140kwh battery. This powers a patented water treatment system that uses a graphene-based filtering process, before the water is boiled and then distilled. The process can deliver 5 000 litres of safe drinking water every day.
The battery also powers a connectivity hub that provides wireless Internet access within an 800-metre radius, and a charging station for electronic and mobile devices.
During its 15 years of service, one Watly can reduce emissions to the tune of 2 500 tons of greenhouse gases, equivalent to 5 000 barrels of oil, its makers say. Watly has already tested a prototype in rural Ghana, and the next step is to roll out units across the continent, starting with Nigeria and Sudan.