Finding ways to augment supplies of fresh drinking water have been around for years. These ideas vary from basic “low tech” ones like a Yemenite funnel water cone to extract fresh water from saltwater to using water created by aircon units.
Purifying sewage systems to create safe, drinkable fresh water are also being tried; and have received visible support by personalities such as high tech mogul Bill Gates, who demonstrated this by drinking purified toilet water. The headline: from Poop to Potable.
Extracting water from the air may have one of the most promising futures due to technology being developed by an Israeli company, Water-Gen, that has taken extraction of water from AC units one step further.
Impressing and hydrating armies
WaterGen is now developing and producing portable units that literally turn water vapor in the air into potable drinking water. The company first got its start back in 2011 when it introduced its first working prototype units for the Israeli Defense Forces.
From there, it has also received attention from the US, French and UK militaries; which have been looking for a more economical way to provide fresh water to troops stationed in desert locations like Iraq, North Africa and Afghanistan, where transported drinking water can cost anywhere from $15 to $17 a gallon.
WaterGen units that have received the most attention from the military include a “wearable” portable Spring System unit (see photo) that can filter as much as 7 to 10 gallons (28 – 40 liters) daily; and a larger unit for field bases that produces as much as 120 gallons (480 liters) a day.
WaterGen Chairman and co-CEO Arye Kohavi says that a portable water producing system helps free the military from the need to transport water supplies in tanker convoys which have often been subject to attack in locations like Afghanistan.
India, a country which has a severe problem of enough fresh water for its giant population, has also become interested in Water-Gen devices.
This has resulted in agreements being reached to introduce civilian versions of WaterGen units into India this year. “We have been approached by many companies in India to partner with for launching products with WaterGen technology. We will launch our products there this year; and believe the Indian market has a huge potential,” says Water-Gen founder Kohavi.
If WaterGen will work in a country such as India, one might well imagine how it would work in other locations which have suitable climate conditions. This could include parts of the Middle East; if this becomes possible.
Update 2020, the Watergen units are going to the UAE.