A pair of architects are the winners of the Water Abundance XPrize Award for successfully extracting water from the atmosphere with their innovative product: WeDew.
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California natives, David Hertz and Rich Gordon, rose to the scientific feat proposed in 2016, which challenged designers to extract a day’s supply of water for a community of 100 people.
WeDew, or “system of water deployed from wood to energy,” is as simple as it is brilliant. Using Skywater, a machine which imitates cloud creation using hot air and condensation, the pair of developers combined it with a biomass gasifier to vaporize the water molecules.
Although the condensation process can be difficult in rural regions as it requires vast amounts of electricity, Hertz and Gordon opted for an environmentally friendly alternative which uses a mixture of carbon dioxide, hydrogen gas, and carbon monoxide. The remaining sediments can be used as fertilizer for crops, Business Insiders reports.
Hertz, who’s project successfully extracted 2,000 liters of water daily at a cost of US$0.02 per liter, said “Our process is one that is really antithetical to the slow-moving infrastructure that exists that is not able to be responsive to a changing climate as it is in the case of say, Cape Town, for instance.
“I think the future of technologies is going to be moving to this restorative, regenerative model that actually helps to repair the damage we’ve done,” said Hertz, who walked away with a prize of US$1.5 million.
Xprize contestant, Jay Hasty said, “It has been pretty intense but it’s really been exciting for me to see water come out of our system, because this is connected to real lives in the world.”
Around the world, over two billion people suffer from a lack of clean drinking water while another 7.8 million survive on unimproved water sources, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.