Quantity and Quality of the Solar Water

There has been some confusion between relative humidity and the quantity of water contained in the air. The graphic below shows the absolute humidity in grams of water per cubic meter.

Desert Air

If one compares a typical wet spring day in the Netherlands to a hot and dry day in a desert, you see that the desert air actually contains up to 4 times more water, in terms of quantity. It seems strange, but one of the conclusions is that the Netherlands is drier than a hot desert – of course related to humidity.

Relative humidity indicates the percentage of water before it starts to condenseinto rain of fog. Warm air is able to contain much more water before condensation than cold air. The amount is even raising exponentially.

The SunGlacier team tested the limits to investigate how small we can build a water harvest machine that is off-grid, powered by solar energy. Because solar energy can be limited and variable – with cloud cover and night cycles – we faced the challenge to use all energy as efficient as possible. The first SunGlacier sculpture is built with existing, off-the-shelf technology, but the latest WaterCube is built with our own custom-designed technology.

We succeeded in producing 20cl of water in Dutch summer conditions, using a 50cm solar panel, 25Watt – 12 Volt. The complete cooling and ventilation system of the WaterCube is as small in size as the water-condensing cone itself.

WaterCube inside top smaller

This is so promising that we decided to continue building on the momentum of what we are discovering in our project. Our next goal is to produce at least 10 liters a day, even without running or moving components. Such a setup would require minimal maintenance.

The water that we produce is simply condensed from the air (like rainwater), and the system is very cheap and simple to clean with a small filter which also adds essential minerals to the water.

The demand for water is growing as more people and natural resources are drying up. SunGlacier started as an art project, and still is, but we noticed that parts of our technical “solutions” are not available on the market. It should be noted that we do not pretend to have THE global water solution, have but found an application that is easy and inexpensive to build in mass production. It can be used to help thirsty people at a personal and community level – especially in off-grid areas.

As an Art Project we have not yet succeeded in finding funds to accelerate and expand our testing in the Netherlands and other parts of the world. Even so, with the limited budget we have, we succeeded to build some proof of concepts.

Regarding the price of water there are two options: nearly for free, or not available at all. Unfortunately the second option is growing, so it is high time to take action and focus on solutions.

Next SunGlacier Project: DC02: “Water Cube”.

We are pleased to announce that we are building the first version of The “Water Cube.” This unique cube is designed to independently generate water for drinking and other applications such as small-scale agriculture.

Cube DC02 def

All technology is designed by the SunGlacier team and will be presented during the OECD Water Governance Initiative in The Hague, in June. The Water Cube could grow into an inexpensive, portable and easy-to-maintain, off-grid water generator. We are excited about this new highlight of the SunGlacier project!

Solar Water: present and future

We sourced residential style products at the local hardware store and purchased 2 solar panels, dehumidifier, power inverter and cables.

Our condensor specifications (for indoor use):Diagram

Our installation is exhibited at the Museum Sculptures by the Sea,  Scheveningen, The Netherlands. The expected summer conditions are 25C, RV = 80%. In these conditions with only 10 hours of daylight to power the systems, we can produce 5.8 liters/day.

Existing condensers for indoor use at 1 kWh can produce approximately 1.2 liters of water. Condensers for outdoor use do not exist – yet. As an example, an optimized condenser being used outdoors, could produce more than 4 liters of water in conditions typical to Lima, Peru – according to calculations of our refrigeration expert.

We have taken the first step and produced a lot of water using existing off the shelf technologies. On many regions in the world, the climate and relative humidity is such that the water production will improve beyond our calculations. The higher the temperature, the more water that can be contained in the air. This means that even in desert conditions there are often very realistic opportunities to harvest water from the air, despite the relative humidity being very low. Solar water needs filtration and enriching with minerals when used as drinking water, but it proves that with off the shelf technology you can create your own water out of thin air!

Our team has advanced condensation effiencies and the technology of converting water from air. With further investment we can take it to the next step: producing 8 liters of fresh water/sq. meter of solar surface.

Fountain runs on solar produced water

We tested our systems, optimised our water pipes and now the fountain spits water upto a height of 6 meters. On a sunny summer day in Netherlands about 1 to 2 times/hour. Next week we start building the installation at the museum and from April 23rd everybody is welcome to see it running.

DC01 - detail 01

 

 

The intervals increase in desert conditions. (upto 3 – 4 times/hour)