Agriculture waterdrop

Published on September 17th, 2009 | by Scott Cooney

14

Is Condensed Water the Salvation for Developing Countries?

September 17th, 2009 by  

Yesterday, I wrote about the new DH9 from DewPointe, one of the cool eco-innovations to be showcased at West Coast Green October 1-3 in San Francisco.  The DH9 is capable of extracting water vapor from the air and converting it to (very) pure drinking water, at a rate of about 6.5 gallons per day.  The technology is inspiring, in that this is a free-standing water manufacturer, needing no water supply, and conjures up images of moisture farms and growing forests where once there was desert.  Indeed, even in 30% relative humidity, which is akin to some of the driest deserts in the world, the DH9 can produce 4 gallons of water per day from the air.

The big drawbacks are the cost ($1600 retail price) and the need for electricity.  While standing, the DH9 uses 80 Watts, and while actively filtering, it uses 500.

Researchers in Stuttgart, however, have solved one of those two problems:  their system is completely based on renewable, on-site energy. 

It involves brine, creating a vacuum to lower water’s boiling point, and using energy from solar collectors to heat the solution (rather than create electricity to do the same, which is an additional step and far less efficient).  The scientists say their system can be used for individuals or whole buildings, as the technology is scalable.

Can this condensed water technology help solve the world’s thirst for potable water?  While the technology from IGB appears to be viable, commercial products have yet to emerge to capitalize on the market demand.  I would envision the desert economies in oil rich countries to be among the first to utilize the technology, as long as the cost is similar to desalination.

But what about that moisture farming?  Can we create forests where once was desert?  Can we find water for cattle that doesn’t require them eroding streambanks?  Can we relieve the burden of fetching water from 3rd world villages?  Can we irrigate croplands in the arid southwest without draining our water tables further?  Can we…

Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business:  Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill)

Twitter:  ScottCooney 
 
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About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on



  • Rangachari Anand

    A simple idea that I have been toying with is to simply run a room size dehumidifier powered by a solar panel. I have one that I use in my basement that seems to produce at least 10 to 20 gallons of water a day. I am sure it would be easy to create a low voltage version that could directly be powered by solar cells.

  • Rangachari Anand

    A simple idea that I have been toying with is to simply run a room size dehumidifier powered by a solar panel. I have one that I use in my basement that seems to produce at least 10 to 20 gallons of water a day. I am sure it would be easy to create a low voltage version that could directly be powered by solar cells.

  • K Mann

    there’s a company called eco-blue that makes a great product that sounds even better than this and it’s cheaper. i wanted to set up a system that was completely self sustained but these things seem to use a considerable amount of electricty so on my budget i could not afford the solar pv panels it would take just to operate the unit.

  • K Mann

    there’s a company called eco-blue that makes a great product that sounds even better than this and it’s cheaper. i wanted to set up a system that was completely self sustained but these things seem to use a considerable amount of electricty so on my budget i could not afford the solar pv panels it would take just to operate the unit.

  • K Mann

    there’s a company called eco-blue that makes a great product that sounds even better than this and it’s cheaper. i wanted to set up a system that was completely self sustained but these things seem to use a considerable amount of electricty so on my budget i could not afford the solar pv panels it would take just to operate the unit.

  • Charles Vismeg

    I believe this proposal has merit, but quote: “…30% relative humidity, which is akin to some of the driest deserts in the world …” is not quite true. Because of this condition successsful implementation is somewhat limited not to the driest regions. Such water obtained is distilled H2O and needs minerals supplements. Deserts may not get green in this method but obtaining healthy drinking water is a win in itself.

  • Charles Vismeg

    I believe this proposal has merit, but quote: “…30% relative humidity, which is akin to some of the driest deserts in the world …” is not quite true. Because of this condition successsful implementation is somewhat limited not to the driest regions. Such water obtained is distilled H2O and needs minerals supplements. Deserts may not get green in this method but obtaining healthy drinking water is a win in itself.

  • Frank DeFreytas

    No Krissy, although an interesting point, we do not have to worry about removing that small amount of humidity from the air.

    Using the the sun to not only make electricity but a direct vacuum system on a black container with a one way valve may suffice for the system. Obviously working efficiently only in sunlight, it would be a boon to areas with no option for water. Even if it only produced 1/2 the stated amount of water.

    Kudo’s to DH9 from DewPointe

    Thank you Cleantechnica.com for continuing to share great innovative developments and ideas. And also providing the Comment section so we may ‘discuss’; not like so many of our politicians who scream, overreact and are far more unbelieveable than TV soaps and Reality shows. PAH-Leeze GROW UP !!!!

    Humbly, Frank

  • Frank DeFreytas

    No Krissy, although an interesting point, we do not have to worry about removing that small amount of humidity from the air.

    Using the the sun to not only make electricity but a direct vacuum system on a black container with a one way valve may suffice for the system. Obviously working efficiently only in sunlight, it would be a boon to areas with no option for water. Even if it only produced 1/2 the stated amount of water.

    Kudo’s to DH9 from DewPointe

    Thank you Cleantechnica.com for continuing to share great innovative developments and ideas. And also providing the Comment section so we may ‘discuss’; not like so many of our politicians who scream, overreact and are far more unbelieveable than TV soaps and Reality shows. PAH-Leeze GROW UP !!!!

    Humbly, Frank

  • Frank DeFreytas

    No Krissy, although an interesting point, we do not have to worry about removing that small amount of humidity from the air.

    Using the the sun to not only make electricity but a direct vacuum system on a black container with a one way valve may suffice for the system. Obviously working efficiently only in sunlight, it would be a boon to areas with no option for water. Even if it only produced 1/2 the stated amount of water.

    Kudo’s to DH9 from DewPointe

    Thank you Cleantechnica.com for continuing to share great innovative developments and ideas. And also providing the Comment section so we may ‘discuss’; not like so many of our politicians who scream, overreact and are far more unbelieveable than TV soaps and Reality shows. PAH-Leeze GROW UP !!!!

    Humbly, Frank

  • krissy

    Something tells me that sucking humidity out of the air could lead to a disaster. Wouldnt that just make our climate drier?

  • krissy

    Something tells me that sucking humidity out of the air could lead to a disaster. Wouldnt that just make our climate drier?

  • Raum

    I looked at their diagram. There is no mineral supplement stage. That worries me. Pure water absorbs a LOT of minerals from your body. Important minerals like calcium and magnesium might be hard to replace in growing children of a 3rd world nation.

    Given the cost, I don’t see why an inflatable distiller with a small solar powered UV filter and straw filter couldn’t do 75% of the job for 1/20th the price. Don’t forget to count the cost of the replacement filters and how you will get them to this unit if it’s used.

  • Raum

    I looked at their diagram. There is no mineral supplement stage. That worries me. Pure water absorbs a LOT of minerals from your body. Important minerals like calcium and magnesium might be hard to replace in growing children of a 3rd world nation.

    Given the cost, I don’t see why an inflatable distiller with a small solar powered UV filter and straw filter couldn’t do 75% of the job for 1/20th the price. Don’t forget to count the cost of the replacement filters and how you will get them to this unit if it’s used.

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