Jordan’s water scarcity drives tech innovation

Omar Nuimat in the field
Omar Nuimat is seen at the field in Azraq, where his project ‘Utilizing Second Life Lithium-Ion Batteries in Off-Grid Water Pumping Systems’ is being implemented, on April 25, 2021. (Photo: NYTimes)
AMMAN — A university student’s drive to improve the energy sector led him to an innovation that may help Jordan’s water scarcity problem. Omar Nuimat, a student at the German Jordanian University, specializing in energy engineering developed a unique project that would address the transition of energy from non-renewable to renewable sources, while also mitigating water supply issues.اضافة اعلان

The project, known as “Utilizing Second Life Lithium-Ion Batteries in Off-Grid Water Pumping Systems”, seeks to address Jordan’s water scarcity by increasing the quantity and quality of water produced by underground wells.

According to Nuimat, hybrid vehicles have gained significant popularity around the world. Unlike other gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid vehicles require lithium-ion batteries to function properly.

“Lithium-Ion batteries are expensive and hazardous to the environment if their contents are leaked or burned. After six or seven years of use by car owners, the capacity of lithium-ion batteries is typically reduced from 100 percent to 80 percent. When this happens, car owners must dispose of the batteries,” Nuimat explained.

Rather than disposing of the batteries or storing them in a way that could harm the environment, Nuimat devised the idea of reusing lithium batteries to power underground wells.

Currently, the project is being researched and implemented on a 240-square-kilometer plot of land in the Azraq region. Lithium batteries connected to off-grid systems power the underground well in the Azraq region. An off-grid system uses solar panels to generate electricity, which is then stored in a battery without being connected to the utility grid.

The knowledge and expertise gained from this project can be applied to other Jordanian or international underground wells once the project’s efficiency is proven.

Without lithium batteries, Jordanian underground wells can continuously pump water for six hours. The use of lithium batteries will enable them to pump for longer periods, therefore producing more water.

However, the advantages of reusing lithium-ion batteries do not stop there. 
Reducing water pumping costs, lithium battery prices, and CO2 emissions are other advantages of the project. In turn, reduced CO2 emissions will positively impact the quality of water produced, as well as the environment.

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