Water from thin air…

The Max Water

Daniel: Everyone knows Australia is one of the driest places on Earth, and with the coming climate changes the poor availability of fresh water is only set to get worse. So what if you could get pure, fresh water from the air, using only the energy of the wind? That is the promise of Water UN Limited – a company incorporated in 2007 to market an invention of Perth’s Dr Max Whisson.
The Max Water utilises specially designed vertical windmills, harnessing the wind to power refrigeration units that condense water out of the air. The concept is simple: air holds water, around 10grams per cubic metre, and there are thousands of cubic metres of air above your head right now, all you need do is cool the air so the water condenses. The US Army uses massive diesel generators to do just that, providing fresh water to troops in the field.
The secret of the Whisson windmill is extremely clever design and nanoengineered surfaces inspired by the African Stenocara beetle. This remarkable desert dweller has evolved a novel solution to the problem of water self-sufficiency. Every morning the little beetle emerges from the sand, does a headstand and sits there most of the day while a little droplet of condensed water forms on the hydrophobic skin of its belly then rolls down into its mouth. Surfaces within the Max Water have been designed to mimic the Stenocara’s underbelly so that any condensed water beads roll straight off to be collected.
Placed around billabongs, dams, reservoirs and rivers it has the potential to dramatically reduce evaporation losses from agricultural water supplies, placed on rooftops it could easily provide enough water for domestic use and could even be used to supply large scale industrial needs. Unlimited, sustainable, renewable energy providing unlimited, sustainable, renewable water – now that’s what I call a good idea!

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