The Earth’s freshwater resources are gradually dwindling. With only 3% of the water being fresh water, the demand outstrips the supply and depletion due to various reasons and will eventually lead to a scarcity of this essential resource.
Enough water in the atmosphere
Four percent of the air is water vapor, meaning that if harvested it can contribute to a consistent reliable source of clean water. Water shortages affect people in each continent with approximately 1.2 billion people living with the paucity of this precious resource annually. It is said that the 3rd world war, will be fought over water resources.
To try and curb the scarcity problem, a machine has been developed to get water out of the air and convert it for human consumption. The turbine like a computer can extract the water found in the atmosphere, purify it, store it and disperse it to the consumer.
How the machine will extract water from the air
Built exactly like a turbine, French company Eole Water, which deals in water harvesting solutions, has built a turbine that can extract water from the air and generate electricity at the same time. On the surface, it resembles a wind turbine and has three blades. As the blades revolve, they suck in air from the atmosphere and condense the humidity even in the driest climate.
The air is sucked in through the nose of the machine and sent through a cooling compressor, which then extracts the moisture found in the air. The water droplets collected are then sent down stainless steel pipes inside the turbine shafts, and collected at the base of the machine, which houses a filtration and purification system.
The turbine is powered by the wind or a 30-kilowatt solar panel, but it can also be linked to an existing electricity grid. The prototype, which is on trial in the Abu Dhabi desert, is currently producing 264 gallons of water every day depending on the humidity and wind conditions and has been running since October.
WaterSeer is also another water harvesting machine developed along the same lines, but from a different source. The University of California, Berkeley in conjunction with the National Peace Corps Association, is also striving to provide water to the millions who do not get a regular supply.
The way the WaterSeer operates is relatively straightforward; the turbine is spun by the wind, and in the process turns internal fan blades, which send the air down a condensation chamber. The water vapor is condensed into liquid water and sent into a reservoir installed six feet underground. The water can then be brought to the surface by a simple pump and hose. The beauty of the WaterSeer is that it does not require power or expensive maintenance.
Effects on the Environment
This type of water harvesting has no adverse effects on the environment or the humidity of the surrounding area. Neither does it lower the quality of air in the vicinity of the operation. Air is a renewable source that cannot be depleted. The water condensing machines, on the other hand, do not emit any harmful byproducts to the environment in the process of extracting water from the air.