The People Producing Drinking Water Out Of Thin Air

Water-Gen filtert Wasser aus Luft

Israeli company Water-Gen has machines that produce drinking water using not much more than just the air around us - more than 3,000 litres of water a day, going by their estimates. It's a new invention that could be used to tackle water shortages throughout the world.

Author Laura Wagener:

Translation Marisa Pettit, 10.05.16

Drinking, cooking, taking a shower, doing the washing up: water is a necessity in countless aspects of our everyday life. And according to a report by the World Health Organisation, today more than 90 per cent of the world’s population has access to what they call an “improved drinking-water source”. That sounds like a huge step forward, but if we look a little closer at the statistics, we realise that that does not necessarily mean that the same percentage of people have access to clean drinking water as we might normally understand it. For approximately 1.8 billion people, the water available to them is contaminated with sewage, bacteria or waste and causes the death of nearly 2,000 children a day according to estimates from UNICEF. The Israeli company Water-Gen has now developed a technology that could put an end to the problem for good: with the help of a special filter that takes water particles from the air and turns them into water which then pours from a tap.

How Does Water-Gen’s Technology Work?

The technology that Water-Gen uses is based on a system of plastic blades that direct warm air through the interior of the machine. There the air is cooled and the water it contains can be condensed into liquid. The company currently provides machines in three different sizes, which at a temperature of 26 degrees and a humidity level of 60 percent can produce enough water for a whole community (3,122 litres a day), a company (440 litres a day) or for home use (15 litres a day). The machines are run on electricity but work so efficiently that a litre of water can end up costing the equivalent of just a few cents.

And Water-Gen also produces battery and solar-powered water filters too, which are able to purify up to 1,200 litres of water each day.

The Fight Against Water Shortages

© Water-Gen Sauberes Trinkwasser ist ein rares Gut

One drawback though: the machines will only really work well in areas where humidity levels are very high. In very dry areas, the same equipment would only be able to produce much smaller amounts of water. But as it happens, it does tend to be hot, humid countries in the Global South that are most affected by issues like a lack of access to water supplies or contaminated drinking water. So it is exactly those kind of areas where the Water-Gen technology can work most effectively. And in places where there is no access to water at all, this kind of technology could dramatically improve people’s quality of life. Just one suggested improvement though, if we’re really being picky: if the machines could be run on renewable energies, it would make them much easier to use in rural areas without easy access to electricity.

For more information about how you can do your bit by optimising your own water usage, check out our article on reducing your water footprint.

This article has been translated from the original by Laura that originally appeared on our German-language platform.

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