June 7, 2024

How our drinking water could come from thin air

Despite the arid climate of Las Vegas, a new technology promises to extract abundant water from the thin air. This innovation comes in the form of solar-powered hydropanels developed by Cody Friesen, an expert in material science. These panels function similarly to ancient techniques for collecting water from the atmosphere, but with a modern twist.

Hydropanels utilize sunlight to power fans that draw in air. The air passes through a special material that absorbs moisture, accumulating water molecules. Solar energy then heats the panel, causing the trapped water to be released as vapor. This vapor condenses into liquid water, which is subsequently mineralized for safe drinking. This method allows for water production even in extremely dry environments like Friesen's home base of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Friesen's vision is to democratize access to clean water, particularly for those with limited options. This includes remote communities lacking electricity and regions recovering from natural disasters. Source Global, Friesen's company, has already made a positive impact by providing water to a school in Africa, freeing girls from the burden of long water-fetching journeys.

While a single panel costs around $2,000, it boasts a lifespan of 15 years. Moreover, advancements in artificial intelligence are optimizing water yield by constantly monitoring environmental conditions and usage patterns. This allows the panels to extract the maximum amount of water possible. Friesen sees the potential for even greater efficiency, aiming to increase daily water production per panel from 4-5 liters to potentially 7-9 liters.

The effectiveness of these panels is undeniably influenced by weather and sunlight exposure. However, Friesen's ambition extends beyond Earth. He envisions adapting this technology to produce drinking water on Mars, where the atmosphere holds about 1% water vapor. By engineering the panels for the Martian environment, Friesen hopes to unlock a potential source of water on the Red Planet.

Are you interested in learning more about how technology is making it possible to extract water from the atmosphere? Check out here