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)

 

Testing the heart and the veins.

detail 1

The SunGlacier project is still defined as “futuristic” on several websites and blogs, but becomes more and more alive in all it’s aspects. Today I visited the solar workshop and was surrounded by flashing LED’s and all kinds of beeps, that we never will see again for half of a year. Operation succeeded. (The box will be closed during the exhibition)

The computer is the heart, but not the soul, of the Art Project. It generates the power to produce the water, and pumps it to the top of the sculpture through a hidden pipe, like a vein in a human body.

 

 

testrun solar

The first SunGlacier Sculpture

prototyping1

The idea of the first SunGlacier sculpture is to build a water drop-inspired structure, placed on a base of solar panels which generate the power needed to produce water out of air. The water will be released from the top of the sculpture and then drip down onto the solar panels.

To investigate the mechanics of a splash, we recorded fluids dropping on a black surface.

 

 

 

To “catch” the shape concept into a state closer to reality, we built a prototype with LEGOs that forms the basis of the design. Did anyone ever say that creating art couldn’t also be fun?

In two weeks we’ll start copying the LEGO cubes in real wooden cubes: the building of the final design. We already tested the water production of our condensor, and beginning 2016 we start testing the solar installation. This is a voyage of discovery in itself.

The positive potential of this project and the other solutions it could inspire became up close and personal again when I traveled to India earlier this month and witnessed the effects of a drought. The province of Gujarat produces a lot of food for the 1.2 billion people of India, but green fields are changing more and more into deserts. This year the south of India was drenched in rain while in the more northern regions, the monsoon only lasted a couple of days – demonstrating increasingly unstable climate impacts.

Except for desalination that can relieve a bit of the drought pressure in coastal regions, there are still no real alternatives for the regions more inland. Water reservoirs and rivers are drying up as well, while the demand for water was never as large as nowadays.

With Art Project SunGlacier we aim to show people around the world the possibilities of harvesting water out of the air. In our case off-grid, only using solar energy is what makes it more unique and promising. This is ultimately a work of art that hopefully can contribute to new ideas and visions to relieve future water shortages.

Water solutions in ancient times

To support the Wetskills initiative, I visited last week the rapidly growing mega-city Ahmedabad, West India (7.2 million inhabitants) and visited the Adalaj Stepwall
When the city was founded, the climate was arid as nowadays, so people decided to build water storages underground to collect rain water during seasonal monsoons. Dependent on which period, people had to climb more or less stairs to reach the water. In wet periods the whole building, all floors, were filled with water. My walk down was an Indiana Jones experience!
 
 
 
 
Besides a miracle of contruction, all walls and columns are decorated with beautiful ornaments. Art and Engineering, hand in hand.
 
A continued dry spell in the current monsoon season has driven Gujarat to the brink of drought, while the capital Ahmedabad grows yearly with 350.000 people. 
 
People in Gujarat have to design new stairs to cope with their increasing water demand – same like they did in ancient times.