Tenkiv Nexus Uses Solar to Clean Water in Afghanistan

Tenkiv Nexus has reimagined solar panels and arrays to use renewable energy to clean up to 1000 liters of water per day.

The team at Tenkiv Nexus says that the average person needs five liters of water a day to survive, and ten liters a day for basic hygiene and cooking. Approximately one billion people on earth don’t have access to that clean water. Lack of access to clean water accounts for 1000 child deaths every day, and the team wanted to help fix this issue. Current water purification methods for groundwater were costly and required infrastructure investment. Working with the Afghan Development Association, the Tenkiv team is trying to change water purification methods, and running a Kickstarter campaign to receive initial funding.

Tenkiv Nexus uses a system that they hope will cost 1/13 of existing solar panels and 1/5 that of fossil fuel, without subsidies. The Nexus device uses what the team calls a PII Thermal Circuit that can theoretically ‘gather, transfer, and deliver thermal energy through a system at the maximum thermodynamically attainable energy.’ The device then works with a storage tank, heat distribution network, thermal processors, and control subsystem to generate energy required for water purification.

A sanitation module uses a pasteurization process that heats the water to 100 degrees Celsius for a few minutes, killing 99.9% of the water’s biological contaminants. A distillation module then evaporates and recondenses the water. The team chose this process because they feel more energy can be recovered when cooling the water vs a reverse osmosis process, and the distillation process is more cost effective when using the Nexus device as an energy source. The control system for the Tenkiv Nexus is the Tekdaqc, a project that was crowdfunded in 2014 and now used in projects and education institutions around the world. The entire unit weighs about 50 kilograms, and the solar module is approximately 2 meters x 1 meter x 7 centimeters thick. Current estimates for the system’s cost are at $.0269 / kilowatt hour, and a capacity of 400-1000 liters (depending on weather and sun intensity) of water purified per day.

Even seeing the system in the campaign video it’s hard to believe all of its claims before a full battery of tests in the field have been run. An incredibly detailed specification sheet is available online as well as a technical briefing about the Nexus system and the PII Thermal Circuit. Ideally this reinvention of what a solar panel can be will be even a fourth of the current estimates, and push forward the cause of clean water for everyone.