Revolutionary Technology Makes Water from Air

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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization states that half of the global population faces water scarcity at least once a month. While desalination plants can help, the technology must be deployed at a large scale and with access to seawater, which leaves regions with smaller populations or remote locations needing a different solution.

Atmospheric water-generating technology can be a solution to these problems and help deliver clean and safe water. But how is that even done?

According to Interesting Engineering, humidity in the air is the result of water vapor, which can be extracted to provide clean water using two different methods – cooling and heating. In the cooling method, humid air is cooled to its dew point in which the water vapor condenses into liquid water. The heating method uses a hygroscopic material to absorb the humidity from the air, which is then heated to release the water.

The main company to currently use the cooling method is Majik Water, which was created by Beth Koigi from Kenya to help communities in her home get access to clean water. The company currently works with non-governmental organizations to offer scalable solutions for households, hospitals, and communities, and its largest installation can generate 500 liters of water in 24 hours.

On the other hand, the main company using the heating method is Uravu Labs, created by Swapnil Shrivastav in Bengaluru, India. While the company can deliver 2,000 liters of water in just 12 hours, the cost of delivering this water is too high for local communities and is therefore used mainly for the hospitality industry and data centers.

While both technologies’ scalability and use of renewable energy make them ideal for remote locations, the cost means they still are not the solutions needed for weakened remote populations.

Experts explain that water-from-air systems must innovate in components such as heat exchangers, hygroscopic materials, and condensers to truly solve the global water shortage, and suggest that government support and environmental regulations could also help increase adoption.