Aqua Billboard Milks the Sky for Drinking Water


Take some guys interested in cutting edge technology and add a dash of old-fashioned capitalism and sometimes amazing alchemy results: That teamwork just happened in Lima, where collaboration between Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology and advertising agency Mayo DraftFCB resulted in the world’s first billboard that converts air into drinking water.

The brilliant billboard was erected in Peru’s rain-starved desert capital city.  (Parched Jordan, the world’s fourth most water-starved nation, would be wise to replicate the project along our miles of highways for a gentle alternative to desalination.)

Green Prophet’s brought you news of domestic devices like the atmospheric water generators (AWGs) that produce drinking water via humidity extraction.  And we’ve talked about creating fresh water from the condensation created by air conditioners. This billboard takes that technology to a grander scale, essentially milking the local atmosphere and turning polluted desert air into drinkable water.

Located in a coastal desert, Lima gets less than an inch of annual rainfall, but the city’s humidity hovers around 98 percent.  The billboard converts harvested humidity into purified water by processing it through filters and a condenser, all integral to the sign structure.  The purified water collects in 20-liter tanks located at ground level for easy collection. Locals are attracted to base taps by a neon display that reads “Agua aqui”.

The structure is expected to generate upwards of 25 gallons (96 liters) of water per day for the neighboring community.  In the past three months it’s produced 9,450 liters of drinking water, capacity to sustain hundreds of families each month. Green Prophet raises a glass (of cool, clean water) to the clever folks behind the Aqua Billboard, hopefully coming to a roadside near you.

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