Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Water from Air?

A Canadian company, Element Four (http://www.elementfour.com/) claims to have developed a device called the Water Mill that can generate water from the atmosphere.

The device, meant to be a home appliance works by drawing air through filters to remove dust and particles, then cooling it to just below the temperature at which dew forms. The condensed water is passed through a self-sterilising chamber that uses microbe-busting UV light to eradicate any possibility of Legionnaires' disease or other infections. Finally, it is filtered and passed through a pipe to the owner's fridge or kitchen tap. It claims to be able to produce upto 12 litres of water per day.

The mill ceases to be effective if the relative humidity is below 30%. However the device has a built in computer that increases its output at dawn when humidity is highest. It is not clear how much energy the device will consume, but the web site claims that the device is "energy efficient''. Well, dont try to buy the device now - the company's web site says the online store will be open in 2009.

My engineering 'fundas' are not good enough to comment on whether this device will work effectively. Will some 'real enginners' stand up and comment on this device? I would like to know:

(a) Is this techncially feasible?

(b) If so, how come no one invented it till now?


benson said...

sam this was one of my many ideas that were lost in the mundane pursuit of survival...I dont think its an economical or consistent source for water. However i had concieved a similar version as a survival kit..i used peltier effect pannels to be driven by a hand turned generator that also drives an impeller to churn the air over the panel to condense enough water for survival when lost in a desert or at sea.(cost is not relevent then)..i used to wonder why no one thought of it then..anyway good luck to that chap...nad hey i jsut saw you tv appearence on u tube cool...keep it up..

S (Sam) Santhosh said...

Hey Benson, that is cool!

My concern about the water mill is about how much energy it would need. Isn't it fucntioning just like an Air conditioner?

hserus said...

Sounds technically feasible - a pretty good dehumidifier with a sound filtering system. They claim that the device will consume 35 cents of power per day to make enough water for 6 people. A few reasons why this was not commercially viable so far could be:

1. Initial Cost (for the dehumidifier, filtering system and onboard computer)

2. Challenges and risks in coming up with a filtering system that would work in the varying atmospheric conditions (time and place).

3. Possible regulations from governments even though this does not affect the environment.

Just curious to know how some of the the US states that ban on the collection of rain water would look into the commercialization of this device.

For example, Colarado state law says: "Colorado Water Law requires that precipitation fall to the ground, run off and into the river of the watershed where it fell. Because rights to water are legally allocated in this state, an individual may not capture and use water to which he/she does not have a right. " !!!