Total savings :This project will not be CDM or Gold Standard-certified.
Technology transfer :Solar-powered, decentralized water purification systems that use the principle of anodic oxidation, an electrolytic process that helps to produce the required disinfecting agent using the minerals already available in the water.
Local environment :Households no longer need to boil their drinking water and can thus reduce the amount of fuel that they burn. Other households no longer need to have their drinking water delivered by car or truck. The use of plastic water bottles is also reduced.
Further advantages :Provides an average of 400 people per day with clean drinking water. Reduces infectious diseases spread through contaminated water. Provides opportunities for employment and further training opportunities.
Project partners :Deutsche Hospitality, Autarcon GmbH, American University of Cairo

Deutsche Hospitality supports the provision of safe drinking water in Egypt

Deutsche Hospitality supports the provision of safe drinking water in Egypt

atmosfair and the international hotel group Deutsche Hospitality (formerly Steigenberger Hotel Group) are contributing to the reliable and sustainable drinking water supply in the desert regions of Egypt. For each booking made on the hotel group’s website, Deutsche Hospitality donates 1 euro as part of the Steigenberger 1×1 Program.

At the beginning of November 2016, the first system completely financed by Deutsche Hospitality went into operation. It is in El Kefah, 600km southwest of the capital city Cairo in Egypt’s desert. The 4,000 inhabitants mainly work in agriculture.

The system delivers up to 10,000 liters of clean water per day, nearly enough to cover all the drinking water needs of the people in El Kefah.

In the first week of May 2018 the second AUTARCON water station got installed and put into operation – again, completely financed by the Deutsche Hospitality. The station is located in Asmant which is 780km southwestwards of Cairo and only 280km southwards of our first station in El Kefah. Asmant’s 10.000 inhabitants do mainly work in the agricultural business. Their need for clean drinking water can be almost completely satisfied through the AUTARCON station.


Climate (change) leads to water scarcity in Egypt

The North African country lies at the eastern edge of the Sahara and is mostly covered by desert landscapes. Even the coasts have a mostly desert climate: at the Red Sea in the East, it almost never rains, and on the Mediterranean coast in the North, it only rains in the winter. The fast-growing population (currently already at 87 million) and Egypt’s stagnating economy are leading to a shortage of natural resources, especially water. The situation is exacerbated by climate change: the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) predicts rising temperatures and more frequent droughts, a rise in sea level, saltwater intrusion into groundwater in coastal regions, and increasing salination of agriculturally cultivated areas. On top of this, existing drinking water systems are often outdated and do not meet hygiene standards.

In the desert regions west of the Nile, there is a chronic water shortage due to the climatic and geographic conditions. Yet in this harsh environment, there are a number of small to medium oases (each with 50 to 1,000 households). There, the people typically source their water from wells and either drink it directly or boil it, but insufficiently. However, boiling does not destroy the heavy metals found in the drinking water, e.g., iron or manganese, and it usually only slightly improves exposure to germs. The drinking water remains nearly undrinkable and poses a health hazard. Children and vulnerable adults are especially susceptible to becoming sick.


Solar-powered water purification

Solar-powered systems are used to prepare and purify the drinking water. The technology developed by the company Autarcon in Kassel, Germany “SunMeetsWater” filters heavy metals from the water and disinfects it. The decentralized systems each supply up to 400 people daily with safe drinking water without using an external source of electricity or additional chemicals. Thanks to photovoltaic panels on the roof, the systems can cover their own energy requirements. Their operation is fully automated by maintenance-free backwash filters; if necessary, they can be checked online from Germany. The local user community is involved in project planning (site planning, sales model) from the beginning onward. Some of the user community are taking part in the building and installation of the systems and will be trained in using and maintaining them in order to ensure secure operations and the ability to take action in case of a breakdown.

Multiple benefits for the community and the climate


Thanks to the systems, the users can minimize their health risks, reduce their household expenditures on expensive bottled water, and no longer need to boil the contaminated water using unsustainable fuels going forward. The systems thus reduce CO2 and help protect the climate. The use of renewable energies and other innovative technology components (maintenance- and chemical-free) has role model and multiplier effects and is thus appropriate for use at other locations without centralized water and energy provision.

By selling the water at an affordable price that is determined by the users themselves, the project’s economic and societal sustainability is assured. The community itself manages the revenues generated from water sales; this ensures that the system can be operated flawlessly and that repair work can be performed and parts that need to be replaced can be purchased as necessary.

Project partners

Autarcon is providing the “SuMeWa” (“SunMeetsWater”) technology, installing the systems, and training the users. Autarcon is also responsible for monitoring and remote maintenance within the project. The multi-award-winning spin-off from the University of Kassel has already successfully installed over 30 systems – not just in Egypt, but also in Tanzania, India, and Nepal, for example.

Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment (RISE) is a multidisciplinary institute and non-profit organization of the American University in Cairo (AUC) located in Cairo. RISE is not just committed to supporting sustainability research, but also carries out its own sustainability projects: since 2006, RISE has worked in the oases and in other locations in Egypt in the areas of integrated water management, water recycling, provision of drinking water, sustainable agricultural, waste management and recovery, renewable energies, environmental education, and training and capacity building. Since 2014, RISE has already built eight solar-powered water purification systems in Egypt’s desert. In the project with atmosfair, RISE is responsible for the onsite project coordination and is supporting a study on the systems’ impact on climate protection and other positive effects.

Ihre Ansprechpartnerin bei atmosfair

Kevin Möller
Senior Project Developer
Commercial Lawyer, M.A. Philosophy
+49 (0) 30 120 84 80 – 64