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)
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