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Monday, November 1, 2010

Harvesting water from air

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Far away from the old innovative world, and farther from the knowledge about what is being done and what has already been … the people of Sub- Saharan Africa often suffer from acute water shortage and remain forced to collect water from long distant streams, that too badly contaminated by animals, thus spoiling all their times for water, and very less time left for other activities … cannot even dream of development.

A wonderful innovation, as media reports, pertaining to air-water harvesting has recently come to be known from that region. It is reported that residents of Cabajane of Africa are using nets to harvest water from air.

Led by a team of Scientists from the University of South Africa’s School of Agriculture and Environmental studies, residents of Cabajane string up nets across a nearby mountain pass. The net remains close to moist air and fog, and collect drops of water contained in them. These drops saturate the net and the water from the net comes down through a pipe. The pipe remains extended to the village and allows water to reach there where villagers collect it in cans.

It is further reported that villagers collect hundreds of liters of water through this process. The water collected from air is reported to be pure and clean as it directly comes from clouds. It is a valuable commodity for villagers who suffered from acute water crisis earlier.

It has been reported that the stream of water nearest to the village is located at a distance of about 2 km. The stream remains contaminated by animal use and carries germs of diseases. The extreme drought has dried up all the water sources of the area. Under these conditions current innovation of harvesting water from air is saving lives of villagers.

The innovative process of harvesting water from air has additional advantage that it reaches to the villagers through pipes under the pressure of gravity. It is collected downhill in properly constructed tanks. It does not require the use of electricity or other form of energy. It is almost affordable and environment friendly. The maintenance is also very easy.

The collection of water from fog is an old technology. It has been n practice in Chile since last 30 years. The project at Cabajane has been replicated in many other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa also.

It is important to note that harvesting water from thin air is neither a new innovation nor a new technology as reported by the media. The water harvesting technology was originally the brainchild of the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It sought ways to ensure sustainable water supplies for U.S. combat troops deployed in arid regions like Iraq. There has also been a company named Aqua Sciences that developed a product on its own and was first to put a product on the market that can operate in harsh climates. Sciperio is a company which is applying the application of proven liquid desiccant technology to the challenge of energy efficient water harvesting from air.

Now, that a lot of work had already been done in the field of harvesting water from air, and the innovation in Africa, as reported, was well backed by Scientists; the said scientists can be supposed to have been aware of earlier innovations. Thy could have approached the Government or could have formed self-help groups to launch the improved and more efficient technology of collecting water from air rather than collecting water from the net adjusted across two ends of a mountain pass. The media too should present such reports after being confident that the particular work is latest and real innovation in real sense of the term.

See, what the Tree Hugger has already mentioned -
Aqua Sciences is redefining water harvesting technology, according to a recent article in Wired Magazine . The firm, now under government contract to hydrate U.S. soldiers in Iraq, has developed a product which creates water out of thin air "virtually everywhere." The atmosphere is a river full of water, even in the desert,” says Abe Sher, chief executive officer of Aqua Sciences. So how does this work? Well it's all a bit mysterious…the company (which doesn’t seem to have a Web site) just hints at the concept of rice in saltshakers. (Mairi Beautyman.Berlin.Germany on 10.11.2006)

Further the international water from air.com is "Making water from air ...... because it is always there!" Here is a direct quote- Atmospheric water generating systems harvest fresh great tasting water from air.  Many people have no idea that the extracting “water from air” technology exists, and most people have no idea how much water is readily available in Earth’s atmosphere – there is over 3,100 cubic miles of water, or more than 3.4 quadrillion gallons at any one time in our atmosphere.  The hydrologic cycle ensures that billions of gallons of water are evaporating into or raining out of the atmosphere every day.  This creates a never ending continuous supply of fresh water that is available and accessible almost everywhere in the world.  Atmospheric water generators produce water similar to the way rain is made and are the most environmentally friendly water dispensing methods available on the market.  The world desperately needs alternative "water cultivation" capabilities and producing water from air is one of the most viable and sound solutions presented as the world’s fresh water needs increase daily.  The revolutionary technology is making available the ability to meet and fill the growing demand for economincal, safe, great tasting drinking water in an evironmentally responsible way. 

The report quoted above mentions the working of Hydrologic Cycle in nature and shows the technology already in use for drawing water from air.

Image :1

atmospheric water generator

Image 2  : Machine for collecting water from air
         (credit- internationalwaterfromair.com)

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