Ouest-France By our correspondent in Nairobi (Kenya) Claudia LACAVE. Published on 15/08/2023 at 07:17.
The company Air Water Africa (AWA) from Saint-Malo, in Brittany, has recently installed innovative technology that retrieves water from air condensation in an East African school. The institution was previously forced to purchase water of questionable quality on a daily basis.
In a muddy courtyard surrounded by gray and white buildings, a group of young girls in colorful uniforms gather with excitement, holding plastic cups in their hands. At the center of their attention on this cold and humid morning are two water dispensers with touch screens and a modern design that contrasts with the basic school environment.


“Turning Humidity into Drinking Water”


Air Water Africa installed these revolutionary machines free of charge in early August for the Karen C girls’ boarding school, which accommodates 500 students from the surrounding disadvantaged neighborhoods of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. They will benefit from more than 1,000 liters of clean drinking water per day, but the installation is not without its challenges.
Alain Tranchant, the AWA technician, explains how the dispenser works. | CLAUDIA LACAVE.
Dangerous electrical panel, cut cables, blown fuses—the technician from the company Air Water Africa (AWA), specially flown in from France, Alain Tranchant, battles against the elements. “We realize that it’s very difficult,” he laments. “People have a hard time understanding that we can retrieve humidity from the air to make it drinkable water.”
The students of Karen C and some staff members are overflowing with curiosity. The deputy director, Nthenya Kithyoma, even did some research online and says, “We are eagerly waiting; everyone will knock on the water tank every day and check if it’s filling up.”
Employees surround the machines with their insulated water bottles, the physics chemistry teacher tests the temperature of the hot water function, and questions pour in: “Are we depleting the air?” “Is there cold water too?” “Is it unlimited?”


“The Goal Is to Prove That Our Technology Is Reliable and Sustainable”


A massive 1,000-liter generator and two small 20-liter machines were set up urgently. The school desperately needs clean drinking water because, without a well, they have to bring in two 16,000-liter trucks daily, costing 5,000 shillings (€32) each, and they have to boil the water to drink. Only 62% of the Kenyan population has access to basic water, and 59% to safe drinking water.
The company has several delayed projects in the country for the past three years and is taking advantage of this solidarity operation, which amounts to over €60,000, to install its first demo. Hubert Bayer, the founder of AWA, explains, “We are happy to do it, and it’s sincere. Afterward, the goal is to prove tenfold that our technology works, is reliable, sustainable, and unequivocal.”