A water treatment facility that recycles waste and urine water has changed the lives of Moroccan students.
Fresh water resources are scarce in Morocco, but a new water treatment facility that utilizes urine recycling technology similar to what astronauts use at the International Space Station (ISS), has made it possible for school children who attend Sidi Taïbi to obtain safe and clean drinking water.
The Moroccan school is the first public facility to utilize this technology.
Located near Kenitra, which is just over 18 and a half miles (30 kilometers) from Rabat, Morroco’s capital, Sidi Taïbi is making good use of this recycled water system that was developed by the ESA (European Space Agency), in cooperation with two European companies, the University of Kenitra, and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
The water treatment system depends on ceramic and organic membranes. These membranes feature holes that have a diameter that is one ten-thousandth of a millimeter in size. To put this into greater perspective, when compared to human hair, the holes are roughly 700 times thinner than a single strand. These miniscule holes are capable of filtering out undesirable compounds in water, such as nitrate, which is a toxin present in agricultural fertilizers.
To make the system even more environmentally friendly and entirely self-sustainable, it is powered by wind turbines and solar panels.
If the water recycling technology works well in the school it may be used for the remainder of the local community.
The facility that was developed for the school accommodates 1,200 students. On days when the school is closed, the extra water and renewable energy that is generated from it is distributed and shared among the local community.
The technology that has been used in Sidi Taïbi has previously been tested in Antarctica at ESA’s Concordia research station. Since 2005, the unit has recycled waste water from dish washers, showers and washing machines, and has needed very little maintenance.
If the water treatment unit in the Moroccan school performs effectively, this recycling technology will be enhanced to provide water to the rest of the town residents.