Research and Development Activities



On this page information will be presented on activities undertaken and development taking place which may be of significance for the potential future use of this technology in Afghanistan.

Idea is:
1) Seek sustainable technology which can provide safe drinking water for domestic use for remote rural villages and households in dry and saline areas in Afghanistan
2) To see if this technology can be developed for mass production which also can generate local employment

Meeting in NCA office Oslo between MRRD, NCA, Norplan, UMB ( student and prof) 13th March 2014

To see photos for stills, click to see photos from stills perpared in 2014, and stills prepared in 2015,

return to technology overview page

See also technology ideas on separate page

Concept presented by NORPLAN to NCA/ RUWATSIP/ UNICEF 2013.

Interest expressed from NCA, UMB (University in Norway), RuWatSIP, UNICEF.

Coordination Committee established in Oslo 15th January 14

Coordination committee established January 21 in Kabul.

M. Sc Student Cecilie Kolstad already started with literature study. M. Sc Study to be ready in May 2014.


Involved Stakeholders




Life Science University , Oslo (UMB)







Start up of Solar Stills work.
December 13
Norplan discuss with NCA possible use for solar stills in remote and rural areas in Afghan sitan. Also possibility for local manufacture and employment potential.

January 14; M. Sc
project started, UMB

NCA contact University of Life Sciences in Oslo to discuss possible technical support to NCA.

January. 2014
Meeting at NCA


January 21
Meeting at NCA,

Meeting in Oslo at NCA whereby NCA agrees to finance M. Sc. student at UMP to start literature study and to investigate potential solar stills designs to be developed and tested in Afghanistan. M. Sc. student Cecilie Kolstad started work under Prof. Petter Jenssen, UNB.

From NCA, in Norway Mandred Arit is coordinating activities in Norway with NCA.

NORPLAN: Dr. Stoveland will provide technical coordination between Norway and Kabul. Inga Potter with expertise in documented illustrations and autocad will as water engineer support Celile Kolstad in making drawings ready for Kabul to manufacture for testing.

Agreed to establish technical coordination committee in Kabul for R&D follow-up. Meeting in Kabul organized at NCA 21st Jan to discuss the project:

From NCA: Liv Steimoeggen ( Country rep) and Hassan Program Manager,
From RuWatSIP, MRRD: Eng M. Safi, National Adviser
From University: Prof Eqrar ( also NORPLAN) to liaise with university and polytic in Kabul for linking to possible local M.Sc. involvement
From NORPLAN: Dr. Stoveland and Eng Abrar to coordinate with NORAD supported activities under the Hydrogeology project seeking technical solutions fir rural water supplies in areas with saline waters.

Roles and responsibilities
different of actors

NCA: To support M. Sc development work in Norway
- to support manufacture of test units in Kabul
- to support test program for units at training center in Maymane, Faryab.
- to scale up manufacture of viable units for sustainable use in Afghanistan.
MRRD, RUWatSIP: To assess and participate in development and advise WSG and WASH meeting which RUWatSIP coordinates on potential use of technology
UMB, Oslo: To provide technical supervision of M. Sc student desk study , development of test units and quality control for test and R&D program and reporting framework.
NORPLAN: To provide technical liaison between Norway and Afghanistan and to provide technical and practical guidance how to make potential technology appropriate for use and manufacture in Afghanistan for rural water supply facilities. To regularly inform local stakeholders on development and to encourage links between training institutions, Ngos, government ministries, and academic and implementing water sector staff.
University of Kabul: to seek involvement of local students for practical applied research training and for being involved in the search for sustainable technology development in the water sector in Afghanistan.

Current tentative schedule of activities;

January 14: Start Activities
Coordination committees established in both Norway and in Kabul.

January : Cicilie Kolstad Start Desk study

February ( end)
Cililie Koslad present technical models for manufacture and testing in Kabul. Inga Potter provide support with construction drawings/illustrations.

Models for testing are manufactured in Kabul using local materials to the extent possible. Development and modifications made
- Prof Eqrar tries to attach Kabul University student to follow up project testing and development

M. Sc. project for Celile Kolstad submitted and information made available to project.
- testing program with activities, testing parameters to be ready.
- units transported to Maymane for mounting and testing during June- September 2014
- Norplan assist in training field testing staff.

- Testing data collected, analyses and preliminary draft report prepared. ( to be decided later who will prepare the report, but the technical committees will be supervising the work throughout.

October :
Further development activities to be decided upon depending on results from the initial development activities.

- further testing?

- development of local manufacture capabilities for scaleup of technology application.?

First draft outline of possible conceptual models

click here to see more

Wick Still Model


Meeting 13th March 2014

more photos

Meeting was organized while Senior staff from Ministry of Rural Development and Rehabilitation was visiting Oslo in connection with the a meeting they had with NORAD. The meeting was called in order to inform everybody about the status on the work with solar stills, about who does what and next steps.

Present in the meeting:

From NCA:
Arild Isaksen
Margrethe Volden
Lib Steimoeggen, NCA Kabul

From MRRD:
Dir. Ghulam Qader
M. Afzal Safi

From Norplan:
S. Stoveland,Norplan
N. Abrar, Kabul
Inga McCarley Potter, Norplan

From University of Life Sciences:
Prof. Petter Jensen
M.Sc: Cecilie Kolstan


Margrethe Volden from NCA welcomed everybody to the meeting and gave a brief presentation about NCA and their activities.

It was very nice to have the visitors from MRRD to visit NCA and to discuss this research project. MRRD could be a key stakeholder in promoting the use of such facilities if proven to be a useful system.

After introduction of participants, Stoveland chaired the meeting and started with providing a background about the project, general roles and responsibilities and invited to presentation and discussion about status.


General Progress

Cacilie had worked on 3-4 different stills using different slope of glass. The concepts were ready for most, but now the challenge was to have the units designed and tested. The stills may produce from 3 to perhaps 15 liters per sq. meter depending on design and contritions. Much is to be learned from building and testing the units in Afghanistan about the efficiencies of the units.

It is also very much in a challenge for the development of the stills to find out how best to manufacture the units locally and which materials are available and easy for local manufactures to use. It is hoped that these units can be produced by the private sector in a commercial basis later so choice of material is important for commercial viability of the product buy also efficiency of the stills can be effected greatly by choice of materials.

The ceramic model was still studied.

Ready made model ordered click to see

The technical drawing are virtually ready now to bring to Kabul for manufacture. One new development was that Inga Potter has identified a solar still frequently used in rural areas in USA for rural homes or secondary homes without piped water or where water was unsafe to drink.

To our surprise, the firm making the solar still kits has already shipped some units to Kabul where a local carpenter has put these together. However, nothing is known about the production capacity of the units. NORPLAN has already put three units on order and these should be on route for Kabul now.

Different technical options to be tested.

Triangle still

Double chamber still

Wick still

Standard still


Technical drawing has also been produced for manufacture in Kabul.


Agreed way forward and next steps.

Good progress.

Stoveland will take drawings and discussion to Kabul next week to present to a technical group there for ordering the units.

Ehasan Bayat will be the technical contact person for NCA in Kabul. He will work with Nabi at NCA.

NCA will provide support to Cecilie when she travels to Kabul. UMB has decided that Cacilie can first travel after the election.

MRRD will support this development and present the solutions to the WSG group.Lo

Location of test units: It was proposed that a set of units should be place in Kabul and another set in Maymane for testing of capacities.

It is imporatant that the production of the units starts soonest so at to assure that testing can start in May/June and throughout the hot dry season.

The handling of this technology testing is important because this could lead the way for other technologies and also could spread information of the water supply situation in Rural Afghanistan though the Norwegian broadcasting being interested in this project.

Next steps: Meeting in Kabul last week in March to plan local manufacture of units. Cecilie and Inga will follow up with key technial contact persons in Kabul organizing the manuracture of the facilities.

Abrar mentioned that students from Kabul University had shown great interest in participating in testing out the units.

The testing parameters and necessary equipment should be organised very soon. Cecilie to forward proposed requirements.


Draft illustrations and draft working drawings.

( for use and discussion when organising production)

Solar still 001-

Double chamber

Solar still 002

Triangle Still 19 degrees

Solar still 003

Single and double chamber
wick stills

Click on drawings below to for detail working drawings with dimensions



  Above 19 degrees below
36 degrees

Meeting Kabul 24th March Follow up

Norplan Office at MRRD office.        

Eng Nabi, NCA
Eng Hadi, NCA,
Prof. Eqrar, Norplan/Kabul University
Eng. N. Abrar, Norplan
Dr. S. Stoveland  Norplan

Ehsan Bayat, ( absent with good reason, participating in training course)
Eng Naim, (MRRD Senior Water engineer absent attending other meeting)


Stoveland briefed about the meeting in Oslo and the development of the test units and the drawings. Both Nabi and Hadi were familiar with the web page where the meeting report and information about the work in Norway had been presented.  There were no need to print out the technical drawings there because the different meeting participants already had access to the electronic versions.

In discussions earlier with Director Qader, he said that Eng Naim should participate in the project from RuWatSIP. He is a senior water engineer and has much experience.

Prof. Eqrar  had identified a Kabul university student, who prior to the meeting met in the Norplan office and stated that she was very keen to participate in the project. Her role would be more important for the monitoring, testing and description of testing results and events.  Engineers from NCA, MRRD and Norplan would play a more important consultative role in the discussion of material choice during the production period. The theoretical design and follow-up of overall testing result analysis would be linked to the M.Sc. Student Cecilie Kolstad at UMB.

Student from Kabul University is: Shogofa Saadat. Hydrometrology, graduate.

Assignment now:
Different models had been drafted and draft drawing ware available on the internet, The manufacture of the units should now start.

NCA: Nabi and Hadi will study the drawings and once comfortable with dimensions and designs  and how the units should work, could proceed with organizing the manufacture of the units.  However, before starting, Nabi and Hadi should consult Cecilie  Kolstad and Inga McCrawley Potter from Norway with how they planned presenting the order before taking the order to the manufacturer.

It was also agreed that on a weekly basis during the manufacturing period now, a progress meeting should be held at NCA so that key technical personnel including Abrar, Naim , Nabi and Hadi ( and also Ehssan) should discuss progress and resolve issues if there were any.  A brief minute should be  circulated to all stakeholders in the project and particularly to Cecilie Kolstad after such meetings.  (Eng Abrar to prepare brief minutes)

NCA proposed that units be produced in parallel should be produced in Maymane and in Kabul. Eng. Hadi believed he knew of good local staff who could produce the units in Maymane.

Proposed and possible locations for testing of units:

In Kabul, it was suggested to place the solar stills units just outside RuWatSIP building so that the RuWatSIP water testing laboratory could be used for analyzing the samples. This was endorsed by Director Qader in discussions earlier the same day. In Maymane the test site proposed is at NCA training compound.

By S. Stoveland



Minutes of Meeting Kabul 7th May 2014, NCA office

Purpose of meeting:

• Update of work
• Introduction of M.Sc. student Cecilie Kolstad, Norway who just arrived Kabul
• Technical team with new partners from MRRD, and Kabul University
• Next steps


(from left clockwise round table.

Padraig MacCarthy, NCA (Assistant country reprehensive),
Liv Steimoeggen , NCA (Country representative, Afghanistan),
Eng. Shogofa, University graduate, Kabul University,
Cecilie Kolstad, M.Sc. Student, UMB, Oslo, Norway
Hassan, NCA (Program manager)
N. Abrar ( Deputy team leader Norplan, Kabul) ( top left)
Prof. Eqrar, (National training adviser, Norplan, and Prof. At Kabul University)
Eng. Nabi, NCA,Eng.
Eng. Ezatullah Hemmat, RuwatSIP, MRRD
S. Stoveland (Teamleader Norplan)

Present but not on the photo:
Hydrogeo.  Ehsan Barat, NCA
Eng. Abdul Hadi,  NCA,
Eng. M. Homayoun Anwari , RuwatSIP, MRRD

1. Welcome by NCA.

Liv Steinmoeggen welcomed participants to NCA this this follow up meeting covering solar stills. Liv asked Svein to chair the meeting. She referred to him

2. Introduction of members and defining of roles.

All participants introduced themselves and expressed their interests and expectations for the project. For general roles are shown attached (Roles and expectations)

2.1. Specific comments about importance of project:

Eng. Hassan: We are really searching to sustainable solutions in areas (remote, hot, poor, dry) where conventional desalination plants fail because people either cannot afford to pay for energy costs or to buy new cartons (membranes) when the old ones are no longer working.

Liv Steinmoeggen: Very interesting to work using such a model where government, NGO, university and private firms all work together is search for best solutions. This she believes to be the working model for the future.

Prof. Eqrar Very interesting to be part of such a development project where so many actors show so much enthusiasm for working together for finding solutions and where so many organizations can involve the training organizations and local students in the project.

S. Stoveland This is a applied research and development project. This time it is solar stills, next time it can be a different concept or technology. If we handle this project professionally, this could easily pave the way for new projects. Receiving funding is about funding agency trusting implementation framework. The working model is also important for capacity building/training for many how to implement simple R &D project. Success here gives confidence to undertake bigger challenges later.

Cecilie Kolstad: Keen to participate in finding methods for serving un-served poor rural people in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

3. Technical concepts for consideration.

Eng. Nabi informed the meeting that the technical working team with had been working with the different designs so at to order someone to start the manufacturing of units. The team is currently working on the pyramid design and have been discussing whether to:

  • Construct using zink, iron or wooden basin.
  • Whether to cover inside basin with black paint or roofing material • Whether to insulate the basin or not.
  • To best to clean and drain the basin, (design to be finalised)
  • Agree on window thickness ( 3- 4 mm)
  • Other issues.

The team also informed that the cost per unit was probably in the region of about USD 100. This means that it is probably more cost efficient to construct more test units rather that using longer times discussion which solution may or may be the best.

4. Discussion and general comments and advise from the steering committee.

4.1. Trial and error is part of development. Build, test, record and learn

There could be technical discussion of which material to use and what was best. It was advised that the technical group should order say, units with use of different materials just to test for local construction skills, material, suitability and costs. With the unit costs so low, testing of which design seems most appropriate and document this by test of why the best would be a valuable path of gaining expertise and knowledge. With good documentation, this could also be valuable for the M.Sc. thesis as well as knowledge to all interested parties for future work. It was suggested that units should first be constructed in Kabul and once complete, key persons from Maymane could be shown the Kabul designs for the purpose of finding entrepreneurs in Maymane who could make the same designs or better for testing there

  The techncial group discussing designs. From left, Hadi (NCA), Eng Anwari, (MRRD), Eng. Nabi at flipchart (NCA), Shogofa, ( Kabul Univ.) , Eng Hemmat, RuWatSIP MRRD, and Ehsan Bayat (NCA) with Cecilie Kolstad behind thh camera

4.2. Which model to use It was advised that the team organise the construction of

  • • two pyramid types designs
  • • two single /one sided designs.

It was accepted that the construction phase of the units would probably give the technical group members new knowledge and lessons which could be added to a possible second generation of improved designs. A still design using wicks could be planned for construction as soon as the first more basic designs were build and ready for testing.

4.3. Technical backstopping

The technical team will and need technical backstopping from key resource personnel. Already Prof. Jenssen from UMB has provide advise on design and material choice. So has other resource members. This dialogue must be continue and this can only happen with a good circulation of information and open technical discussion. Therefore all interested parties should be copied so as to be made aware to follow the project and to be given the opportunity to advice.

5. Testing of units

5.1. Location

It was proposed that the units should be tested both in Kabul (inside MRRD compound) and that NCA training compound facility in Maymane.

5.2. Testing timing and training of monitoring

Preliminary testing could start end of next week in Kabul of when the first units were ready. Cecilie will probably remain in Afghanistan till the end of May. During the period while in Kabul, Cecilie will work closely with the colleague student from Kabul, Shogofa and train her how to sample, monitor and analyse results needed for testing the units.

After Cecilie leaves Kabul, she will work closely with the technical team and Shogofa. Shogofa will continue to supply data for analysis by Cecilie for the M.Sc thesis. At the same time the data will be used to encourage future development using this technology in Afghanistan. Shogofa will be supported by Norplan to secure that high quality data capture will be maintained.

5.3. Monitoring parameters and water quality analysis and equipment to use.

Cecilie will prepare the monitoring program. This will be discussed with supervisors at UMB and with Norplan. Cecilie brought with her some monitoring equipment (solar radiation, temperature, data logger, etc) . Norplan has also some field water testing equipment which will be made available for test ( pH, conductivity, alkalinity etc.), If additional equipment is needed, the water testing laboratory iat RuWatSIP has further equipment.

( the photo illustrates how the testing arrangement could look like with units being tested with a size ( area ) of approximately 1 m2 .

  ( the photo illustrates how the testing arrangement could look like with units being tested with a size ( area ) of approximately 1 m2

6. Next steps

The construction of the first units could start next Sunday. It was proposed that the construction would be done in the NCA compound inviting a carpenter to work there.

Once constructed units had undergone some preliminary testing, the units could be brought to the MRRD compound near the RuWatSIP laboratory and placed there for testing.

The testing parameters would be prepared by Cecilie and testing will be undertaken in May with her supervision. After end of May, Shogofa will assist in continuing monitoring in Kabul.

By the end of May, units should be manufactured for testing in Maymane. It has yet to be decided how and by who the monitoring should be undertaken there.

The testing and development is expected to continue for a few months during the hot summer so by the autumn, a summary report could be prepared and perhaps a seminar held to evaluate findings and discuss how the knowledge could be best applied. If necessary, further testing and development for better local designs could also be suggested.

7. Attachment:

7.1. Roles and expectations of organizations




Need to find solution of serving sustainable water supply to poor remote rural people in dry areas with salty groundwater unfit for human consumption. NCA to engage own technical staff in development and testing. Project fits well with Norwegian funding campaign in 2014 NCA to support M.Sc. student.


NORPLAN To search for technology for areas with saline waters as part of project with MRRD/NORAD supported. Also capacity building – bringing stakeholders together to solve problem for sustainable development Norplan to support local student from Kabul and local project monitoring. M.Sc Student Project for M.Sc thesis leading to M.Sc. Degree. To plan, test, write up and share designs, experiences
UMB University interested in water supply and sanitation development in developing countries and want to encourage links between UMB and Afghanistan/ universities/ Projects/MRRD
Kabul University Interested in learning how to organize M.Sc applied research projects and to seek links to international universities
MRRD Responsible for advising water sector on rural water supply and development as chairman of WSG. MRRD/ RuWatSIP tasked to see that all rural people in Afghanistan are served with safe water supply
M.Sc. Student from UMB Interested in development R & D and in completing project for thesis.
Kabul graduate student: To have the opportunity to learn and hope this can lead to new training opportunities.


7.2. Diagram of project actors involved in development project




Progress report May May 2014


After the general meeting work with the design and construction of solar stills has progressed with personell from NCA, MRRD, Norplan working closely with Cecitie. It is very pleasing to see that much has happenedf. Many types of stills have been constructed and testing started.

Equally exciting, some of the results results are emerging which we think is quite encouraging and exciting. Some of the stills have produced more that 7 liters destilled water per day in Kabul. Since this is at the early stage of development this gives good reason to be optimistic.

The different design have also been costed but more work will now have to be concentrated on optimising for the most appropriate design or designs to adapt for local construciton in decentyralised carpentries or by other local contractors.

Below we present some some of the photos showing some of the units tested.

Location for testing was at the roor of the NCA office block in Kabul.

Carpenters workshop where the first still was made

Five different design constructed and tested in late May omn the roof of NCA project office in Kabul. By Cecilie Kolstad and team members from NCA , MRRD and Norplan.