This week: two innovative ideas provide solutions to food and water insecurity in arid regions old and new.
One of the most basic survival issues faced by humanity is the looming threat of water scarcity: How can we ensure that we will have essential nourishment for the future of humankind?
Water from the atmosphere, using solar-powered hydropanels
For the first time, water can be captured from the atmosphere using solar energy.
Inhabitants of the Middle East and North Africa can access only 1% of the world’s freshwater sources. Additionally, there are more than 2 billion people living in countries under water stress.
The innovative company SOURCE has introduced its hydropanels all across the world over the past decade. Indeed, these are solar panels with added technology, though, to catch water from the air. Sure, SOURCE’s panels have been around for awhile, but they deserve more attention with good reason. Unlike other contenders on the market, their panel has no carbon footprint.
That’s the best thing about the SOURCE™ hydropanel: it does not run on a power grid or need to be hooked up to one in order to function. The innovation combines water-capture technology with solar energy, making Atmospheric Water Generators more viable as an alternative source for water.
Past AWGs did not gain much traction, as they were extremely inefficient. The units had to run off of a coal-based power grid—just for cooling humid outside air via coil and catching the condensed droplets. It’s a considerable waste of our natural resources to catch water like this, when people still have access to natural freshwater resources. Nevertheless, they won’t have access forever.
It’s unfortunate but true that the wells will run dry because of disappearing groundwater. These hydropanels take water directly out of the air and only require sunlight to do so. Paired with additional green solutions, such as desalinating water from the ocean, humans could secure access to drinking water for ages to come.
“You’re able to harvest water from the air using solar and nothing else… it’s perfectly self-sufficient,” said one of SOURCE’s vice presidents, Vahid Fotuhi.
SOURCE’s largest water farm is situated in Dubai, producing 1.5 million liters of water each year. The company has attracted clients from commercial industries and placed hydropanels in difficult-to-access yet popular tourist locations. Not only have they taken the money, but they have also installed hydro panels at hospitals and schools around the world. The company is a Public Benefit Corporation, meaning that it is committed to serving society.
“Using advanced water capture technology, a standard SOURCE™ array replaces more than a twelve-pack and up to a twenty-pack of bottled water on a sunny day,” the website says. A singular array is just two panels.
Image from hydroscot-energies.com.
The desert camp in Dubai shows the robustness of the company’s AWG. A family home can produce water for the household with one panel, and a whole array of panels can produce water for a larger operation.
Perhaps you will see a SOURCE™ hydropanel array in the near future.