Lack of water causes great distress among population groups living in rural areas or in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. This brief article shows that small, decentralised water treatment plants, powered by renewable energy, can help solve this problem. It covers work that is being done at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, where systems have been developed that produce fresh drinking water using their own independent solar-power supply. In addition, it provides a summary of a project at Delft University of Technology that combines desalination and wind energy to create a safe and reliable source of drinking water for small communities. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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