First published in Cleantech magazine, Volume 6 Issue 6. Copyright Cleantech Investor Ltd
Hydro-philanthropy: Integrating carbon finance with water treatment
Manna Energy, a social enterprise based in the Isle of Man, aims to leverage existing economic structures for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to enable the distribution of technologies to help reduce poverty. It is contributing to a nascent field whereby humanitarian goals are met in an economically sustainable and accountable way, rather than through charity and aid.Manna aims to reverse the trend whereby less than 2% of the multi-billion dollar a year CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) industry benefits African nations. One of Manna's focuses has been to integrate carbon finance with water treatment through CDM drinking water and carbon credit water treatment projects. The company developed the first United Nations CDM project for drinking water treatment in developing countries, a project in Rwanda which was established in 2007, providing families with access to clean water from community-based water treatment systems.
Under contract to Vestergaard Fransen, Manna also developed and registered the first Gold Standard carbon credit water treatment programme. Through the distribution of a purification device known as ‘Lifestraw’, Vestergaard Fransen has provided access to clean water to 4 million people in Kenya’s Western Province. ‘Lifestraw’ offers an alternative to boiling water using firewood – thereby reducing carbon emissions.
Now, Manna has partnered with DelAgua Health, a UK company, to develop and implement a three million person water treatment and cookstove programme in Rwanda.
Under the hydro-philanthropy model, economic sustainability and expansion are generated only by the continued use of the water technologies. There is a direct incentive to ensure that the projects are successful, in that these same projects serve to fund further development. Manna therefore aims to remove the disconnect between funding and public health goals.
The company also has engineering expertise in scalable surface water treatment systems, based on gravity sand filtration and ultraviolet disinfection, which together bacterially decontaminate the water, making it safe for drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene. The surface water treatment systems take gravity fed water supplies and remove particulates through gravel and rapid sand filters. Clear water is disinfected with photovoltaic powered ultraviolet light.