Solar energy and it’s advantages: Harness Drinking Water from Air

Solar Condensers offer an environmentally friendly way that combines worlds’ of the two most abundant sources: solar energy and water. These systems help in harnessing this essential liquid even with 20% humidity in the atmosphere.

How do Solar Condensers work?

The info graph below shows a simplistic flow of how solar energy is used in the condensing process.

Infograph elaborating the solar water condensing process

The solar PV panel produces electricity when solar energy falls on it. The electricity produced runs a fan that pulls in air. The air is then passed through a porous membrane where the water vapour present in the air gets compressed. This is then stored in a reservoir after adding some minerals to make it drinkable.

Are these systems feasible?

These solar systems can be a gamechanger in providing clean drinking water in underserved and desert areas. Zero Mass is one such organization that has embarked on a journey of “making drinking water an unlimited source”.

Zero Mass’ technology has been in the works for almost a decade. The first prototype was developed at Arizona State University, where Cody Friesen, the founder of Zero Mass, was teaching engineering and materials science. Over the past years, Zero Mass’ panels—called Source—have been available to specific customers: multilateral institutions, recipients of emergency aid, investors, and friends of the company.

Fig 1: Source installed in Navajo nation to harness water in a dry area
Fig 1: Source installed in Navajo nation to harness water in a dry area

How much water is present in the atmosphere?

Water is omnipresent in the atmosphere. One estimate of the volume of water in the atmosphere at any one time is about 12,900 cubic kilometers (km3). That may sound like a lot, but it is only about 0.001 percent of the total Earth’s volume of about 1,385,000,000 km3. If all of the water in the atmosphere rained down at once, it would only cover the globe to a depth of 2.5 centimeters, about 1 inch.

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Source:@Solar_Edition @zeromasswater

Infographic: @Solar_Edition 

Fig 1: @Solar_Edition @zeromasswater

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References:

Zero Mass: https://www.zeromasswater.com/

The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/28/16690042/zero-mass-solar-panel-harvesting-clean-drinking-water-next-level

Science Mag: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/new-solar-powered-device-can-pull-water-straight-desert-air