Clean Water Using Solar and Wind: Outside the Power Grid


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Author(s): Gustaf Olsson

Publication Date: 15/09/2018

Pages: 210

Binding: Paperback

ISBN13: 9781780409436

eISBN: 9781780409443

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Solar photo-voltaic (PV) and wind offer to bring both clean energy and clean water to remote regions and peri-urban areas in the world, outside the conventional electric grids. One out of seven people has no electric power available that would bring light to the home, cook the food, pump to access water and purify or re-use it. Off-grid systems are scalable and can be designed to any size, from household to village and community levels. The renewable energy cost development is remarkable and can make electric power affordable also for the poorest.

Renewables promise an end to the era where energy security is closely related to geopolitics. The expenditure is up-front capital cost while “fuel” is free. With renewables, there is no geopolitical pressure where one country has deposits of a fossil fuel while another does not.

This book aims to show how clean water and clean energy are reachable for all while contributing to both a better climate and a healthier life.

The PDF version of this title has been made Open Access in partnership with Knowledge Unlatched (KU), a library crowd-funding initiative. Find out more here.

This title is also available as a Persian translation

Part I: Water and Energy – A Human Right

Chapter 1: Water and energy – for all
Chapter 2: Towards sustainability goals
Chapter 3: The renewable energy revolution

Part II: Water Technologies 

Chapter 4: Water supply
Chapter 5: Water treatment
Chapter 6: Solar thermal desalination and solar water heating
Chapter 7: Used water treatment

Part III: Renewable Energy Technologies

Chapter 8: Solar PV
Chapter 9: Wind
Chapter 10: Handling variable production
Chapter 11: Energy management systems

Part IV: Applying Renewable Energy to Water Operations

Chapter 12: Economy
Chapter 13: Land use for energy
Chapter 14: Water operations using renewables – some cases

Part V: The Future

Chapter 15: Outlook to 2030 and further

Appendix 1: Glossary

Appendix 2: Conversion of units



Gustaf Olsson

Prof. Olsson’s latest book is designed to enhance understanding of the renewable energy revolution that is now underway, and how use of solar and wind energy can help provide water services to those currently underserved. He succeeds in a carefully written, concise, and yet comprehensive book that will appeal to many audiences. These include water professionals who wish to learn about solar and wind energy, public and private officials responsible for providing energy and water services, those in the financial community who will be called upon to provide the necessary investment funds, and those students interested in entering these emerging fields. His book is an important contribution to understanding vital changes taking place broadly in the 21st century that will improve the lives of millions. 

Dr Allan Hoffman, former US presidential adviser on renewable energy

Water and energy are two of the most important pillars that support modern civilisation. Despite many similarities, the two have traditionally been generated and delivered in very different ways by different organisations and subject to different legislation and regulation but to the same customers. The very success of conventional, centralised distribution systems in large urban areas has also been their limitation for communities not living in industrialised countries. Cost and scale. This book explores and supports the provision of clean water to communities which are off-grid based on the tremendous advances made in recent years around renewable energy generation, especially solar PV and wind.  It explains in the clearest possible terms the potential, progress, economics and technology that can make this a reality. It is a book for specialists and a book for generalists written in a clear and engaging style by an author of immense experience, knowledge and wisdom. It can’t be said for many books, but this really is one that can change the world!

Professor David Butler, Director, Centre for Water Systems, University of Exeter, UK

Gustaf is certainly a leader in the area of the water-energy nexus, having previously published one of the most useful books on this topic – Water and Energy: Threats and Opportunities. In his new book, Gustaf makes a clear case for the value of off-grid water and sanitation systems and the enormous potential for renewables to play a part in these systems. Gustaf has a special skill when it comes to explaining concepts in an understandable way and clearly shows how solar and wind can be integrated at each stage of the water supply and sanitation process.

Professor Shuming Liu, Vice Dean of School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

This is a timely and necessary book as countries are starting to address the SDGs. Water and energy are crucial to development and decentralized or off-grid water and energy systems are vital to the developing world. Most of rural Africa will remain unserved unless these systems are implemented, due to economic constraints in bringing conventional grid-based services over long distances. I particularly enjoyed Chapter 3 showing the coupling between the different SDGs, it addresses my fear that we tackle the SDGs in isolation which was not the intent and this chapter brings the complexity home. Lastly, the book is an easy read for both the lay person and the scientist, a rare feat in itself.

Henry J. Roman, Director of Environmental Services and Technologies, Department of Science and Technology, Pretoria, South Africa

Following in-depth discussions on the water and energy nexus in his previous works (Water and Energy[...]), Gustaf shows, in this new book, how renewable energy in combination with decentralized water operations can decouple many of these dependencies and meet challenges caused by climate change, population increase, water scarcity and poor water quality. Gustaf has rightfully stressed the specific importance of solar and wind energy for providing clean drinking water and sanitation to the underprivileged communities. This book will be a highly valuable reference for both power and water engineers.

With a strong background in both power and water engineering, Gustaf is uniquely positioned to address the water and energy nexus.

Professor Zhiguo Yuan, Director, Advanced Water Management Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

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