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Published on April 9th, 2018 | by Jesper Berggreen

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Water From The Air — The Perfect Solution?

April 9th, 2018 by  


In a recent article about the occurring global freshwater depletion James Ayre made us aware of some depressing facts like:

— More than 4 billion people around the world already experience extreme water scarcity at least 1 month every year.
— More than 500 million people around the world already experience extreme water scarcity essentially year-round.
— Well over half of the largest cities around the world now experience water scarcity occasionally.

A few days ago I also mentioned a new material that can filter out heavy metals from water, but clearly that’s not enough. We have to think about the source of our drinking water in radical new ways.

Water from thin air

Big problems need big solutions. But big and effective solutions might not be that complicated. I had heard about devices that extract water from thin air — after all, your air conditioner does this all the time, so the principle of condensing water vapor is not that difficult to understand — but I wondered if any industrial scale solutions were out there. They are. But are they enough to solve the global water crisis? Maybe, but it probably cannot stand on its own, because we really have to think about what we use the precious drops for in the first place. One of the websites I present below is quoting California Governor Jerry Brown for having said: “People should realize we are in a new era. The idea of your nice little green lawn getting watered every day; those days are past.”

Real products

So, what’s out there? A little searching came up with these examples from all over the world, and there are probably many more. The manufacturers do an excellent job in explaining how their systems work, so below I have some highlights from their own websites.

Freshwater solutions

freshwatersolutions

Image credit: freshwatersolutions

From freshwatersolutions.org:

In Latin America and the Caribbean, close to 34 million people do not have access to safe sources of drinking water and, in Chile, around 540 rural communities, which house more than 195,000 people, are deprived of the necessary networks for the water supply, having to depend on third parties to obtain this resource.
We accelerate the natural water cycle by capturing the micro particles of water that are suspended in relative humidity, then form a cloud and make it rain, obtaining pristine water that passes through a filtering, purification and sterilization process, and can obtain up to 28 liters of purified water per day.

Water from Air

waterfromair

Image credit: Water from Air

From waterfromair.co.za:

There are almost daily articles written about the various types and amounts of toxins and contaminants in public drinking water supplies. The water also needs to pass through ageing pipes and infrastructure along the way to your tap, which can pick up metals and contaminants.
There are 12 Quadrillion litres of water in the atmosphere at any given time, and water is in a constant hydrological cycle.
Water from Air machines extract moisture/water from the atmosphere through a condensation process. The water then passes through a filtration process and UV sterilisation process that produces ultra pure, healthy, drinking water.

SkyWater

Skywater_islandsky

Image credit: islandsky.com

From islandsky.com:

The most abundant source of fresh water is the Earth’s atmosphere. When atmospheric humidity condenses, it falls as rain. Skywater replicates this natural process of condensation by simulating the dew point, which allows it to make water continuously, even in low humidity conditions. This is Skywater’s patented adiabatic distillation process.
Again replicating nature’s process, Skywater generates ozone to purify the water. Ozone (O3), a natural occurring gas that is produced in nature when it rains, binds with water to eliminate bacteria and other impurities. Skywater does this by pumping ozone through the water as it is collected. Unlike other water treatment methods such as chlorine, ozone leaves no taste.

Ecoloblue

ecoloblue

Image credit: ecoloblue.com

From ecoloblue.com:

There are 37,500 trillion gallons of “fresh” water in the air at any given time and through a hydrological cycle recycles this amount every 9 – 16 days. 8 miles straight-up of untapped atmosphere just waiting to contribute to life on Earth. Until now, it was a mere fantasy to harness that unlimited, and renewable natural resource. EcoloBlue AWGs bring the previously unfathomable idea of limitless, sustainable, and portable hydration to the masses.
Every day humans waste an embarrassing amount of plastic, in the form of bottles, cups and other containers. This doesn’t need to be the case. One of the main benefits of producing your own water from the air around you, is you no longer rely on the hundreds of millions of plastic water bottles and cups we use every day.

Air Solar Water

airsolarwater

Image credit: airsolarwater.com

CTO Joe Ellsworth from airsolarwater.com:

Filters are an essential part of survival kits. The problem is that once a disaster occurs the water available to filter can degrade quickly. I have seen this with raw sewage, fuel and chemical spills that often occur after earthquakes, hurricanes and tidal waves. This can force you to travel further through increasingly dangerous conditions to find safe water.
I invested years designing and testing AirSolarWater.com, A device that harvests potable water from the air using only solar energy. It will continue to produce water for decades as long as there is sun.
AirSolarWater draws the moisture from the air so it doesn’t need any source water. This makes it immune to surface water contamination that would rapidly destroy just about any filter.

WaterSeer

waterseer

Image credit: waterseer.org

From waterseer.org:

WaterSeer is a green, low maintenance, and mobile water solution for any individual or community. WaterSeer provides an endless supply of pure water for drinking, agriculture and nature.
An internal fan draws air into a collection chamber where the water vapor condenses as water. Yield is accelerated by our proprietary hydrostatic feedback system, new material applications, constant below ground temperatures, and solar powered coolers. The WaterSeer maximizes performance during the peak yield periods to assure high efficiency and low power requirements. Water is produced continuously at less than 100 watts[-hours]/liter.

Zero Mass Water

zeromasswater

Image credit: zeromasswater.com

From zeromasswater.com:

 

Applying thermodynamics, materials science, and controls technology, SOURCE needs only sunlight and air to make drinking water each day at homes, schools, offices and more, and we are already changing how all people experience their drinking water.
Water Independence. No pipe input. No electrical input. No infrastructure. Independence means peace of mind. SOURCE is abundance in drinking water: up to a case of bottled water generated per day from a pair of panels.
Truly Renewable Water. SOURCE taps into the unlimited supply of water vapor in the air, using sunlight to power a renewable supply of drinking water. Without the waste of bottled or filtered water, SOURCE is water you can feel good about drinking. A single SOURCE array offsets the equivalent of over 70,000 plastic bottles over ten years and wastes zero water.

And the list hopefully goes on…

Is it enough to make a difference? I must admit all this sounds promising, so why are we not seeing these systems everywhere? Am I missing something? Cost? Scalability? Safety? If not, what are we waiting for? 
 





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About the Author

Jesper had his perspective on the world expanded vastly after having attended primary school in rural Africa in the early 1980s. And while educated a computer programmer and laboratory technician, working with computers and lab-robots at the institute of forensic medicine in Aarhus, Denmark, he never forgets what life is like having nothing. Thus it became obvious for him that technological advancement is necessary for the prosperity of all humankind, sharing this one vessel we call planet earth. However, technology has to be smart, clean, sustainable, widely accessible, and democratic in order to change the world for the better. Writing about clean energy, electric transportation, energy poverty, and related issues, he gets the message through to anyone who wants to know better. Jesper is founder of Lifelike.dk.



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