Is it now possible to extract water right out of the atmosphere? Whether or not water harvesting is a scalable technology is yet proven. But it certainly is possible! Companies from Chile to Holland to America are all breaking milestones towards the advancement of water extraction technology.
The development of this technology is viewed as a direct response to the effect of climate change in cities across the globe.
Cities like Cape Town in South Africa have become the front line of climate change as the city fights to stave off the dreaded Day Zero when its water supply will run out. In another instance, Mexico City is experiencing its own strain on its water supply.
Teams around the globe are stepping up to the challenge to offer solutions that address these pressing issues. In one such case, Dutch company SunGlacier has developed an off-grid harvester that can collect water in the hottest and driest of environments. The company is calling its artificial water well, Desert Twins.
The artificial well relies on condensation to create and collect water. The harvester comprises two separate devices – an energy unit, which draws and stores power from solar panels, and the water maker, which uses this energy to cool down a metal plate. Once the temperature of the metal plate is low enough, humidity in the air condenses on the metal, causing droplets to roll down. It achieves all this entire process with a 50-watt solar panel. SunGlacier says the liquid that’s harvested is similar to rainwater, and can be used for agriculture or cleaned for drinking.
The water production so far is relatively low: about half a glass (about 15cl) per 6 hours, can be produced by this machine. But the company is optimistic on this milestone because the water harvester can run in theory for decades until the solar panel no longer functions or the parts wear out.
Another start-up based in Chile called FreshWater has also built a machine to pull moisture out of the air and turn it into super-clean drinking water. Their water harvester is claimed to produce between 9 to 28 liters per day. FreshWater’s harvester runs on much more power needing 450-watts to power its harvesting process.
Do you think these approaches could a viable solution to drying climate around the world? Let us know in the comments below.