A company in the US state of Arizona has developed ‘hydropanels’, which look like solar panels but don’t generate electricity. They are mounted on houses and can produce hundreds of gallons of free drinking water every week.
The technology was developed by the SOURCE company. The panels use solar energy to extract moisture from the air. The devices are very useful in areas where access to drinking water is difficult, but they can also be used in cities or towns by those who want to live green and reduce utility costs in the long term.
The technology is not very complicated. Fans built into the panel draw in air from outside and push it through a material that absorbs water. The vapour is then condensed into liquid using energy from the sun. The resulting water is collected in a tank. It is then mineralised with magnesium and calcium to make it taste better and be healthier.
Read also: Hydrogen-producing panels are a reality: We’ll be able to produce electricity at home from moisture in the air
Hydropanels developed by SOURCE are not yet widely available. One costs $2,000 and produces 5 litres of water a day.
High price, but big long-term benefits
The systems can operate independently of other types of infrastructure, which means they can be used absolutely anywhere. At the same time, a single panel developed by SOURCE can eliminate the need for 54,000 PET bottles of bottled water in its 15-year lifetime.
Worldwide, more than two billion people live in areas where access to water is difficult. The problem is set to worsen due to global warming. UNICEF estimates that by 2025 half the world’s population could lose direct access to safe drinking water. This is where the technology developed by SOURCE will help.
Also read: Revolutionary technology that heats your home for half the price using moisture