SunGlacier in Oman

Last week The Dutch Embassy in Muscat, Oman, invited us to present the SunGlacier project at the Water and Energy Conference, as well as at EU-GCC Water Energy Nexus.

From L to R: Ambassador H.E. van Asch, Ap Verheggen, representives of the government of Oman.

 

like ants in the wide world (pixels are our cars)

 

The week before we crossed the hot and dry Wahiba Desert, to investigate if we were able to harvest water from air, only powered by a small solar panel. We didn’t expect that the sun already provides sufficient energy at 6:30 AM, while the air is so humid that all our gear turned soaking wet. It’s such a is misunderstanding that all deserts are extremely dry. Oman, known as a “desert country” has many regions, that are more likely a rain forest. It’s only a matter of making a mind switch to see the opportunities that could benefit these regions.

 

The DC03 model

 

The great team of the Dutch Embassy organized the conferences into perfection. We were overwhelmed by all introductions, many new friendships were born. SunGlacier is just before launching new technologies that will raise some eyebrows in the water harvesting world. The Oman location was the ideal setting to unveil the first details of this new technology. ( not shown on the picture)

Technology versus Nature.

The SunGlacier project started as an art-meets-science project and now holds real world applications that can change how water resources are perceived. We are assembling a mobile – water from air – device that extracts 20 to 25 liters of fresh water per day. (in semi-desert conditions) This machine is designed to run on solar energy, but also can be plugged in the electrical grid.

This new water well supplies water for human consumption but also could be used for new applications, like off-grid farming.  For the exhibition “De kunst van Brood” we build world’s first complete off-grid greenhouse. An double artist’s view to the circular economy: we grow grains in bread  – and circulate all water.


The result of this tough battle between nature’s laws and a new technology will be presented at the exhibition “De kunst van Brood” in Amsterdam.

Mr. Tom Middendorp new ambassador for the SunGlacier project

We are honoured to announce that Mr. Tom Middendorp, Special Strategic Advisor, and former Chief of Dutch Defense is appointed as the new SunGlacier ambassador.

Tomorrow Mr. Middendorp will introduce the latest SunGlacier project: “From Bread to Flour”, at the Planetary Security Conference in The Hague.This unique Art/Tech project is build in world’s first off-grid food production laboratory: water from air technology, growing lights and climate control, all powered by solar energy.

What goes up, must come down.

The whole world held its’ breath when Cape Town threatened to fall dry last year. But who could have imagined that a country like Sweden only one year later turned into a dry savannah, plagued by forest fires. Or that in The Netherlands most of the rivers have changed into small streams, winding through a yellow and withered landscape.

Europe and many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere have been affected by high temperatures and drought with conditions of apocalyptic proportions. Records continue to be broken, multiple times, everywhere.

Warm air is capable to contain more water. The total amount of rain decreases with increasing temperatures. But while storms are weakening, convective rain cells are intensifying. When the floodgates of  heaven open the showers only give temporary relief. The damage in The Netherlands is calculated in years, and a drought period next year will have cumulative consequences. The salty water of the North Sea flows up the low rivers and below the dunes to reclaim its territory.

“Dutch Wetlands”. Picture taken near Eindhoven, accompanied by Peter Glas, Chair Water Board De Dommel (NL), President OECD Water Governance Initiative.

We have not seen better climate conditions for harvesting water from the air than before now. More drought means more sunshine (free energy) and higher temperatures mean more available water to harvest. We already predicted these developments for more than a decade and since 2010 we have gained enormous knowledge about optimizing the “water from air” technology. Probably in the upcoming months we can leap the final hurdles and present our technology to the market.

In my personal view it is 5 past 12, but we still have options for the future of this planet. My motto has never changed: “embrace your enemy”. As the climate changes, we will have no other option left but to use most of the changes to our advantage.

Try-Out SunGlacier Challenge in Oman a great succes

some of the Challenge devices

To encourage university students to develop creative solutions to of the most serious effects of climate change – drought – the SunGlacier team organized a challenge for them to harvest water from air. With an inexpensive Peltier cooler  that is found in all types of laptop computers, the students were tasked with maximizing the amount that could be extracted from air, even in this dry region. SunGlacier believes in action over discussion, because the world urgently needs bright ideas to cope with the realities of a rapidly-changing climate. Future generations will need to implement new solutions in ways that are difficult to imagine at present, and young adults can also find joy in pushing the borders of science in this Try-Out. We hope for this to be just the beginning, with the collective power of fresh minds leading the way on new possibilities. Success in this could have far-reaching benefits for thirsty people in dry lands.

 

The finish of the SunGlacier Challenge.

The team of Windesheim University of applied sciences joined with 4 excellent devices that harvested water from air, in more extreme conditions, than expected. The Sultan Qaboos University Team displayed 2 devices that impressed by their creative designs. Many thanks to Wetskills and Sultan Qaboos University for the excellent organisation. Further thanks to Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Medrc (location) and PDO. Our personal thanks goes to Dr. Ahmed Al-Busaidi, and Nicolina Becx.

Nienke Bregman, member of the Windesheim Team inspects the first water drops.

 

Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al-Said (in blue) attended the Challenge opening