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Clean drinking water for rural regions in Colombia

Aid & Trade

One in four Colombians living in the countryside does not have access to clean drinking water according to WaterAid. PUM customer ABCONTROL, who works in the field of electrical engineering, wants to change this by participating in a large-scale water desalination project. The Colombian company came to the Netherlands to find the right partners during a "Business Link" visit at the beginning of this year.

PUM invites entrepreneurs who show potential for international trade to come to the Netherlands. Here they meet potential trading partners. "There have been many benefits to this trip to Holland, for example among the connections we have made with companies in Holland in wind, water treatment and solar inverters,” says Harvey Riaño, manager of the Colombian company ABCONTROL, after visiting Lenntech, a company in Delfgauw that builds water treatment plants. 

PUM expert Martijn Schootstra, who already provided ABCONTROL with advice in Colombia, adds: “ABCONTROL may become a partner in a water desalination project that is currently taking place in Colombia. Especially on the islands in the Caribbean, there is a lot of wind and no drinking water. In addition, there are a number of solar energy projects in post-conflict areas where there is no electricity at all. Providing these areas with electricity - by means of solar energy - improves the living conditions of the inhabitants. I help ABCONTROL to find the right partners for these projects. There are Dutch companies with a lot of knowledge in the field of solar energy and water purification. We hope that they can provide ABCONTROL with the right equipment. " 
One of those companies with a great deal of knowledge in the field of water treatment is SolteQ Energy. " We are working to make drinking water available in a sustainable way in Colombia,” says Herre Rost van Tonningen, CEO of SolteQ Energy. The Dutch company has developed a hydraulic wind turbine that converts wind energy into water under high pressure, which is used for the desalination of salt water. This brackish water or even seawater is - in simple terms - squeezed through a system that converts it into fresh, drinking water. For the technically skilled among us: the SolteQ system works on the basis of reverse osmosis (membrane technology). Herre: “Although there is a need for fresh water in almost the entire (sub) tropical world, SolteQ is first focusessing on Colombia, the Antilles and the Cape Verde islands. We met ABCONTROL on the Dutch trade mission to Colombia. With our technology they could broaden their working area and lend support to our projects." 
SolteQ cooperates with Lenntech, which builds the water treatment plants for their wind turbines. "We export our industrial water treatment plants all over the world," said David van Lennep, Managing Director Lenntech. “However, in South America, in particular Colombia, we don't do very much yet, so that would be a very nice addition. Together with PUM, we now hope to intensify those contacts and thereby do more business together.” 

Text & Video: Elise Mooijman