19 december 2022

Developing a solar-powered desalination facility in Cambodia

The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development has approved grant support for Desolenator to help develop an innovative desalination facility to produce purified water from seawater in Cambodia.

Desolenator, headquartered in the Netherlands, is planning to build the solar-power water purification plant in Sihanoukville, a city on the Southern coast of Cambodia. The city is growing fast. It experiences water shortages almost every year due to a sharp increase in demand of around 15-20% per year, mainly in the dry season.

The country as a whole is exposed to high water risk due to seasonal droughts, aquifer depletion and increasing water salinity in coastal areas. Groundwater use rises 10% annually due to growing domestic consumption and farming, but also due to increased industrial activities. At the same time, shorter and wetter rainy seasons are expected to occur in the coming decades, with longer and drier dry seasons and more anomalous seasonal events in the region.

The project has been put forward by the World Wide Fund for Nature Netherlands (WWF-NL) which manages together with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation the DFCD’s Origination Facility to develop new projects for the investment fund. With the approval of the grant, WWF has the intention to sign a €250,000 grant funding agreement with Desolenator.


Innovative concept

Desolonator developed a way to distill drinking water from sea water that is 100% powered by the sun, doesn’t use any filters or membranes, nor harmful chemicals. Its unique technology, underpinned by three patents, is based on multi-stage distillation of sea water: water is boiled using solar energy, the salt-free steam is cooled and back in liquid state results in completely purified and remineralised water. The company proved its concept during a US$1 million demonstrator plant in Dubai.

The DFCD grant will co-fund the feasibility studies and assessments for the construction of the € 10 million installation, which would be financed by the DFCD’s Water Facility, global brewing company Carlsberg and Desolenator.

Stuart Beavis, Regional Lead WWF DFCD Asia:

“The DFCD is delighted to partner with Desolenator in a Least Developed Country and a Dutch priority country on what we believe will be the first of many projects. We look forward to working with a strong service provider on water stewardship activities with the landscape.”

William Janssen, CEO Desolenator:

“This opportunity to provide water to a city in water stress, is not just a wonderful chance to help make a difference for many people, it also offers the chance to contribute to the provisioning of Net Zero water and apply water stewardship in all forms, in a location where population growth outstrips resources.”


For more information, Stuart Beavis, Regional Lead WWF DFCD Asia Pacific at sbeavis@wwf.org.hk.

In case you have any grievances in relation to this project of the DFCD’s Origination Facility, please contact us through our service desk at servicedesk@wwf.nl.

About Desolenator

Desolenator is the worlds first solar thermal desalination solution that works at scale. It harnesses the power of the sun to sustainably turn seawater into drinking water or ultrapure water. The company’s patented technology harvests 4x more energy from the sun than traditional PV panels. It uses zero harmful chemicals, zero membranes, and zero energy intermittency. The circular technology enables the production of quality water and salt and is designed to operate with zero harm to the planet.

About DFCD

The DFCD enables private sector investment in projects aimed at climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made available € 160 million to increase the resilience of communities and ecosystems most vulnerable to climate change. The DFCD is managed by a pioneering consortium of Climate Fund Managers (CFM), Worldwide Fund for Nature Netherlands (WWF-NL) and SNV, led by the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, FMO. 

Read more about DFCD

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