To alleviate the burgeoning problem of water scarcity, scientists around the globe are developing new and advanced technologies that look for clean water in unusual places. In March of this year, for instance, Morocca-based NGO Dar Si Hmad (DSH) installed the world’s largest fog harvester in the arid Aït Baâmrane region. Recently, Israeli startup Water-Gen has come up with an innovative contraption that traps condensation from air. Speaking about the project, founder Arye Kohavi said:
The target is to extract water from the air with minimum energy. We think our solution can solve the problem on the level of countries. It’s an immediate solution – governments don’t need to spend decades to make a big project.
According to the developers, the machine relies on an array of plastic ‘leaves’ to channel humid air in different directions, harvesting usable water during the process. The company is one of seven Israeli startups that showcased technological inventions and innovations at the recent United Nations General Assembly. Running on electricity, Water-Gen’s ingenious contraption is available in three different sizes.
When exposed to 60-percent humid air at temperatures of around 80 degrees, the biggest model is capable of harvesting up to 825 gallons (or 3,122 liters) each day. By comparison, the medium-sized version can generate nearly 118 gallons (approx. 446 liters) daily under similar conditions. Aimed for use in homes as well as offices, the smallest unit yield about 4 gallons (15 liters) every day.
Despite the varying sizes, the technology, as pointed out by Kohavi, can be easily scaled up. Taking current electricity prices into account, the device is believed to generate water at costs of around 10 cents per gallon (or 3.7 liters). The contraption, according to the team, is intended to help people living in areas that don’t have proper access to drinkable tap water as well as places with warm and humid climates. Kohavi added:
If it’s hotter or more humid, the system produces more than average, and if it’s colder and dryer it produces less. Places that do not have drinking water in pipes are usually hot and humid – Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa – so those two rules are almost equal.
At present, the team is conducting field tests at cities around the world, including Mumbai in India, Shanghai and Mexico City. The product is also being trialed in rural locations. If everything goes according to plan, it will be available commercially by the end of 2017. The company, chairman Maxim Nasik states, will be bringing the technology directly to governments as soon as its ready.
Interestingly, Water-Gen was originally created in Israel to help supply water to soldiers in the battlefield. Among the countries currently using its military technologies are the US, France, the UK and certain Arab countries. Its products include solar-powered water purifiers and miniature water-from-air machines intended for civilian use. Nasik went on to say:
Water from air is for places that you don’t have any water to filter. We think it’s possible to bring drinking water to all countries. Humidifiers, army solutions, etcetera are a secondary issues. What’s important for us is to bring water to the people. This is a basic human right.
Source: Business Insider