Israeli researchers say they have developed an energy-independent portable system for extracting and collecting water from the air, including in desert areas.
The northern Israel Institute of Technology, Technion, reported on Monday that the new technology is particularly relevant to small, isolated communities located far away from water sources, as water transportation costs to such areas are high.
Unlike existing air harvesting systems, the new, cheap, efficient system allows to produce water on site, without the need for external energy.
While today’s systems are based on cooling of all incoming air, the new system only cools the water vapor (which is only about 3 per cent of air mass), thus significantly reducing the energy needed to produce water.
The researchers’ motive for developing the new system was the World Health Organisation, WHO, estimation that by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
The Israeli new technology is based on a two-stage cyclic process separation of moisture from the air by absorption using a highly concentrated saline solution, and separation of the moisture from the desiccant under and condensing the vapor under sub-atmospheric pressure conditions.
The researchers said that apart from its basic existence and health importance, such independent water production can prevent bloody conflicts over water sources in dry areas.
The researchers added that this can also allow young women in some societies to study instead of having to carry water for their families.
“Our development, first prototype of its kind in the world, makes water an affordable resource anywhere in the world, regardless of existing water sources.
We hope to make the system a commercial product soon,“ the researchers concluded.