An inventive drought solution that will turn deserts green

Need for water: Climate change is forcing new thought on innovations in facing drier conditions in vast areas of the globe. Scientists can’t yet determine the outcome of our planet’s climate, so we only can respond to what we see now to help us and future generations survive.

What we are: This is the world’s most efficient system of harvesting water from air. SunGlacier began as an art-meets-science project and now holds real world applications that can change how water resources are perceived. Our team is maximizing a new and natural configuration of sunlight, air and gravity that can produce potable water from air nearly anywhere on the planet, even in hot and dry deserts. This revolutionary patent-pending technology has demonstrated stunning success in first laboratory tests. One prototype is housed within an industrial model, and the other demonstrator is based in a modern sculpture designed by Dutch artist and SunGlacier project creator, Ap Verheggen.

How it works: On an April 2017 testing mission in the hot Mali desert, our team found that with current condensation technology using cooling surfaces, too much water is lost by evaporation. This inspired us to design a much more effective system that functions without the loss of evaporation. The new SunGlacier Watermaker TM01 system is far more energy efficient, and has no cooling surfaces or moving parts except for a small water pump.

The TM01 water harvesting process:

  1. Water is cooled down below dew point and then sprayed by a nozzle into a cylinder.
  2. Air is drawn automatically into the cylinder by the falling water, and condensation begins instantly.
  3. The volume increases rapidly, and harvested water is collected in a reservoir ready for use.

 

Water circulation in the system is cooled constantly over a 24-hour period through the use of fluids that can store low temperatures. These fluids are cooled by solar energy during daylight, and therefore only a small battery is needed to circulate the water. This simple but effective off-grid water production system can be built cheaply.

Potential applications: The water produced can be used for drinking, with the addition of minerals, and for agriculture. Numerous other applications are also possible where water is urgently needed. In addition, the system is sustainable as water harvested from the air is merely “borrowed” for a relatively brief time. Water consumed by humans returns to the natural cycle within a matter of hours, and approximately 90% of water used for agricultural applications also is also quickly recycled into the air through evaporation.

The next steps: This is indeed a theoretical breakthrough in water resource technology. Now that the first design steps have been realized, a new series of tests is taking place with an industrial-sized prototype in a variable climate room in the Netherlands. With the results of this advanced testing, a technical production partner will be sought to optimize and build the systems for applications in areas of need around the world. This SunGlacier Watermaker system can then spark a truly unique and effective range of solutions for adapting to climate impacts in dry areas of need nearly anywhere.

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