Trip 1, September 2017: Our first potential customer was Mr. Sherif Mehany from Port Said, Egypt. He told us when we were still in University in 2016, that there is a need for simple solar desalination technologies. He invited us to Port Said to build a solar desalination plant. This was a great motivation for us to start aquapa in May 2017. We started testing and developing our solar desalination plant here in Germany before Raphael Wagensonner went to Port Said in September 2017. Mr. Sherif came up for all expenses of the trip and cared about Raphael Wagensonner very kindly. It was at a place of Mr. Mohammed, the husband of Mr. Sherifs sister, that we could test five different solar still plants. These plants were not working well, that’s why we had to improve our plant back in Germany.
Trip 2, January 2018: Christoph Dobler and Raphael Wagensonner return to Egypt to meet Mr. Sherif and attend the Cairo Climate Talk. When we built the plants in September at the site of Mr. Sherif, he realized that our technology is not ready for the market yet, that is why he did not push our project on the second trip. Nevertheless, he was a great host once more in Port Said to us. We went to Cairo to meet Mr. Prof. Hosam Shawky at the Desert Research Institute and Head of the Egyptian Desalination Research Center of Excellence. We showed to him and his colleagues our prototype. For another three days, we tested the plant at the Desert Research Institute. Further, we tested the plant at our hotel and made a promotion video. The highlight of this second trip to Egypt was the Cairo Climate Talk. This event was hosted by the Germany Embassy and the Egyptian Minister of Environment, H.E. Dr. Khaled Fahmy, delivered a speech. Together with four other green startups we had a discussion in front of around 200 guests. There we met for example the startups Hikers, who make wheat out of mango residues and beena, a startup with the focus on green technologies like solar dryers.
Trip 3, April and May 2018: In four weeks Raphael Wagensonner built several solar desalination prototypes in Cairo with Beena and could test two modules at the Red Sea in the Marsa Alam Diving Resort, that sponsored the accomodation. This trip confirmed that the setup is easy and all materials are available in countries like Egypt.