Project Haiti

PI Marc Compere

The goals of Project Haiti are to provide Haitians with clean drinking water, to expose our college students to another culture, and to give them a hands-on experience using their engineering skills to directly help people.

Many Haitians living in the tent cities after the earthquake deal with chronic intestinal sickness from contaminated water. Our solar water purifier is designed to provide clean drinking water for 500 adults per day.The Summer 2014 purifier will be installed at the Dayspring Missions orphanage in Croix des Bouquets area, a suburb east of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. It will provide up to 6000 gallons of water a day with the water being used by the orphans, distributed to three local church communities, as well as being sold to the community to generate income and filter replacement costs.

This project is an ideal intersection of humanitarian aid and engineering. Our students designed and built Embry-Riddle's solar powered water purifier for delivery to a Haitian tent camp. They learned how to use solar panels, batteries, pumps, and filters to construct a purifier that runs entirely from the sun. Now that it is completed, our students have become better engineers and they have learned a global perspective and the satisfaction of helping people in a developing country.

More on Project Haiti

Past Efforts

Summer 2010

In Summer 2010 Embry-Riddle students delivered a 1 gallon-per-minute (gpm) water purifier powered entirely from the sun. The 2010 trip report presentation is available here. It was a valuable success for over 150 college student volunteers who traveled to Haiti that summer to help the disaster relief effort. The Nehemiah Vision Ministries camp upgraded to a 10gpm unit for greater capacity.

Summer 2011

In Summer 2011, our team of students designed and installed a 4gpm unit powered entirely from the sun. We installed it at the Anne Clemande Children's Foundation in Chambellan, Haiti. They operate a children's home and school with approximately 600 children and staff. They had no access to clean drinking water. The 2011 trip report is downloadable here.

Summer 2012

In Summer 2012, our team of Embry-Riddle students delivered a community water system providing 14gpm of clean, safe water to an Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp named Onaville The purifier is in daily operation delivering roughly 15,000 gallons per day. Onaville was the largest tent city in Haiti during post-earthquake Haiti. This is our most successful trip from a partnership standpoint, a purifier standpoint, and also an academic standpoint. Students received credit during a summer course titled ME595 Practicum in Water Purification. The 2012 trip report is here.

Summer 2013

The Summer 2013 unit was installed in Michaud, Haiti, at the Ryan Epps Home for Children. Michaud is a suburb of Port-Au-Prince. This is a 14gpm unit powered entirely by the sun which means nearly zero recurring cost to operate the unit. This is ideal for starting a sustainable micro-business. This system combined with the micro-business provides clean, safe drinking water and also create jobs, generate recurring income, and improve community health. The 2013 trip report is available for download here.

Academic Integration

  • Our 2012 EPA P3 Entry was a Portable Solar Water Purification Backpack for Disaster Releief. It won the $90k EPA Phase II award, the US Army's NetZero Water Award, and the Student's Choice Award at the 2012 National Sustainable Design Expo
  • Dr. Compere teaches two water courses:
    • ME595J, Practicum in Water Purification is a lab based, hands-on course that provides students with practical experience in testing for water-borne pathogens, water purification methods, and solar power systems
    • HON350, Emerging Trends in Global Water Supply and Demand is a humanities survey course raising awareness of water as the new high-value commodity. This course highlights the major issues in the water-energy nexus, water-food nexus, and water-climate nexus.
  • An American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) SouthEast Regional conference paper on the 2012 unit and trip is available here.



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Research Dates

07/01/2010 to 10/15/2016


  • Marc Compere
    Mechanical Engineering Department
    Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin