All air, from arid deserts to humid cities, contains water vapour – globally, an estimated 3,100 cubic miles of water is suspended as humidity in the air around us.
The world’s poorest are being overcharged for water they know to be unsafe, but have no other option but to drink.
Pulling water from thin air is hardly a novel concept – you may have a dehumidifier machine at home that does just that.
Water vapour entering a WFA machine condenses on a chilled coil in the same way, but once collected it is filtered, sterilised by UV light, mineralised, and stored in a food-grade tank ready to drink.
The advantage over traditional water coolers being you don’t need to constantly replace the plastic water barrels – this one keeps replenishing itself from, well, thin air.
The solar panel itself contains some photovoltaic material, which runs a small fan to pull air through the system, but it is largely solar thermal – this evaporates the water back out of the ‘chemical sponge’ in order to be condensed and collected.
Maybe re-wired fridges, chemical sponges and giant bamboo towers collecting water from air seem strange now.