The implementation of the theoretical research conducted by Nile University’s researchers are coming to life with their new project to conserve water and generate energy at the same time.
The project is originally a prototype made for Sheikh Zayed canal in Toushka, which consists of plastic buoys that cover the surface of the canal to reduce the level of evaporated water and, ultimately, conserve water. This brilliant idea doesn’t stop here but extends to generating energy through solar panels that are fitted above the buoys also. The main researcher, Dr. Sherine El-Baradei, estimates that under this model, 4.5 million cubic meters of water will be saved annually as a result of covering half of the main Sheikh Zayed canal in Toshka and the solar panels will generate between 500 to 1000 kilowatts of renewable energy annually.
The idea of the project, which took over 8 months stems from the fact that that our country is facing scarcity of water, proven by the amount of water that each person is entitled to currently have, which is 570 cubic meters per year; this number falls below the 1000 cubic meters official amount that is required for each person annually.
This water problem may have roots from the political status quo and some of the natural causes; the impact of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, for instance, in the future is expected to decrease the amount of water per person to 500 cubic meters by 2025. In parallel, the natural effects regarding the evaporation of water due to temperature, air pressure, and the rate of air flow to the surface of the body – global warming effects – are part of the causes that are leading to the decrease of water.
Nile University researchers and engineers are working hard on making the project a realistic solution for many of our water sources. Hopefully, this project will be applied to the Nile River in the coming future, which can, possibly, save between 2 to 3 billion cubic meters of the country’s current share of 55 billion cubic meters annually.