Dubai – MENA Herald: During its annual staff party recently, Dubai-based sustainable FM services company Farnek, gave away six ‘green’ raffle prizes, which using renewable energy, would purify and heat water. Out of over 2,200 eligible staff, six lucky employees received a Solvatten – a portable solar powered water purifier and heater.

The winners, four security guards, a cleaning supervisor and a cleaner from Sri Lanka, The Philippines and Uganda were presented with their prizes by Markus Oberlin CEO at Farnek.  

“All of the winners were delighted to receive the Solvatten, some because they can now provide safer, cleaner water for their families back in their homelands. Others were equally excited to learn that their families would not need to use any gas or wood to heat or purify their water, helping them to save money,” said Oberlin.

Invented by Swede Petra Wadström, Solvatten, combines a portable water purifier with a solar water heater, which provides energy efficiency and safe water for people living in parts of the developing world that are most vulnerable to climate change.

“We decided to endorse Solvatten because it is portable, it can hold ten litres of water, which can be purified in as little as two hours in direct sunlight. It is made out of durable plastic, requires no batteries, chemicals or spare parts and has an average lifespan of between seven to ten years.

“This meets the needs of developing communities perfectly by improving their health and their economy with renewable energy that won’t damage their environment and it matches our own profile – embracing sustainable technology,” added Oberlin.

Multi-award winning Farnek is one of the UAE’s market leaders in sustainable facilities management and has added Solvatten to its growing sustainable credentials, which include partnerships with hospitality certification standard, Green Globe, carbon management and climate protection NGO myclimate, as well as providing its own independent energy efficiency and waste reduction consultancy services.      

To date more than 42,000 Solvatten systems are used daily by more than 200,000 people around the world.

As a result of introducing Solvatten units into private households in Uganda, over 11,000 people now benefit from safe water and on average over 1,600 litres of safe water is being purified per unit, per household, per annum, with more than half a tonne of firewood saved per household, per year.

In addition to the Solvatten winners, Farnek also raffled two Biogas plants between employees from Nepal. Over 19% of Farnek’s workforce are Nepalese and their isolated rural communities face ongoing challenges in terms of access to clean, affordable energy. After the success of pilot projects in Nepal last year, the company decided to donate another two projects.  

The construction of biogas plants is very simple. A pit is dug close to the house, within which an enclosed dome-shaped digester is built underground out of clay and bricks, which is then covered by soil. There is an inlet for cow dung (which is mixed with water) and other organic waste and liquids, which decay producing methane. An outlet pipe, then carries the methane gas direct to the kitchen for cooking and lighting.

“Manure from three cows daily produces enough methane gas for five hours of cooking or lighting. Each biogas plant saves the equivalent of five tonnes of carbon emissions annually for up to 20 years,” commented Sandrine Le Biavant, Director Consultancy, Farnek.