A Startup Brings the Smart City to the Village

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By Patrick Di Justo
A water purifier, energy source, and Internet hub all in one.

All it takes is the sun to power Watly, a combined water purifier, micropower station, and Internet hub, whose creators see it as a way to provide the most basic services to even the most remote communities. In 2015, the Watly 2.0 prototype, roughly the size of a VW Beetle, was set up in Abenta, Ghana, a village that’s home to a little more than 200 people. Using vapor compression distillation, the prototype provided roughly one liter of clean water per person each day from any source—even seawater—and enough electricity to charge 100 cell phones. Its success has spurred the development of Watly 3.0, a 15-ton behemoth that can provide up to 5,000 liters of water per day. CEO Marco Attisani intends to sell Watly to luxury hotels in exotic locations, corporations looking to improve their green footprint, and governments and NGOs in the developing world. 

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