Dubai start-up finds a way to produce fresh water from the ocean without electricity

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

Manhat

Emirati-based start-up Manhat has developed a device that can generate fresh water from the ocean without electricity – a breakthrough that could change the way clean water and food are produced in the Arab Peninsula.

Water desalination of seawater is the current method used worldwide to address water scarcity, especially in areas where fresh water is unavailable. However, it is an energy-intensive process that creates waste brine that goes back into the ocean, risking marine life. 

Launched in 2019, the company uses a proprietary natural water distillation system that efficiently captures ocean water evaporation on the surface. It works by condensing the water vapour when the temperature drops at night, and then the freshwater gets collected in a can.

The evaporation method produces no waste and can be performed without electricity, and does not generate any carbon emissions or produce toxic by-products like brine. 

Founder and CEO Dr Saeed Alhassan shared that he wants to harness this technology to build floating farms, using the fresh water collected to irrigate and grow crops at the source.

According to Dr Alhassan, the company’s water distillation system can be harnessed on a wider scale, as early prototypes have been proved successful.

He said a project must be commercially viable and make money to succeed. That’s why the start-up is setting out a plan to run a larger-scale pilot project and needs to raise at least US$500,000 in exchange for future equity. 

“If you ask me, because the ecosystem is evolving, there is no blueprint of how to do this in UAE,” he told The National.

“In a perfect world, it would have been better if we had more businesses and investors collaborating with the universities to take the technology to the market as soon as possible.”

One of the start-up’s early supporters is the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development which offered financial support for the doctor’s patent applications through its Takumul program. 

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.

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