The world is getting thirstier. For many people around the globe, access to clean drinking water is still a challenge. Higher average temperatures, increased pollution, rising utility costs and population growth make clean water inaccessible to many. Fortunately, organizations are working hard to change that with innovative solutions.
In response, a small, passionate group got together to make water from air. Texas-based SunToWater utilizes solar power to generate power and diminish water scarcity.
SunToWater is launching a revolutionary machine referred to as the Atmospheric Water Generator. Through a one-of-a-kind patented design, the device is capable of pulling water from the air and storing it for consumption.
How does it work?
The process starts with an exterior unit that is about the size of an air conditioner. The first step is absorption: small, energy efficient fans pull humid air into the unit. The air passes over a salt-based element that absorbs water molecules like a sponge. By using salt, the machine is able to absorb only H2O from the air, leaving aside contaminates. The air is then circulated through a patented desiccant technology.
During the second phase, the extraction, water is baked from the desiccant with the use of warm air and then condensed into pure water.
The last step, remineralization, adds minerals back into the water. Water can then be piped directly into a home, garden, or external water tanks.
The quality of the water produced—even when created from smog-polluted air—meets World Health Organization’s standards for drinking water. Desert climates are not an obstacle since the system uses salt instead of Freon to capture and condense humidity into water. Also, if the unit is in a desert climate, the fans work faster to move more air over the salty material.
Is it worth the price?
The Atmospheric Water Generator is environmentally friendly. Each generator can operate entirely off the grid by using solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic panels. SunToWater uses roughly 70% less power than conventional dehumidifiers using Freon, consuming 0.51 kWh per gallon.
The cost of the water varies based upon the power source used. The generator supports AC (alternating current) power, resulting in $0.04-$0.06 per gallon. When powered by thermal and solar panels, the cost is $0.08- 0.12 per gallon. That’s nearly five times less expensive than refrigerant-based techniques.
With either technique, the water produced is pricier than municipal water but significantly cheaper than bottled water.
The unit generates 40-100 gallons of water per day, enough water to sustain common household necessities. Due to its unique and economical design, the unit is essentially maintenance free and comes with a 10-year warranty.
SunToWater’s commercial units give businesses all over the world access to contaminant-free water. The containerized unit is easy to transport and features plug-and-play operations with traditional or solar power resources.
The company’s main focus, though, is on areas that have coped with limited water supply and restrictions, as well as high utility bills that come with it. SunToWater is currently taking reservations for both the residential and commercial units and expects manufacturing to commence this year.
Images courtesy of: SuntoWater Technologies LLC