Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2016 - 12
Creative contributions to
solving the global water crisis
BY ALANNA MAYA
Never has there been
a better time than now
for technology and water quality to intertwine. With
news of lead lines contaminating water supplies in Flint,
Mich., and Sebring, Ohio, sparking similar investigations
in towns across the country, the topic is, quite literally,
on the tips of everyone's tongues. Across the globe,
twice the population of the United States lives without
access to safe water; one in nine lacks access to clean
Solutions to the global water crisis that can truly
stand the test of time are at an all-time premium.
Thankfully, there are numerous innovations that
represent creative ways to solve the water crisis by
developing new techniques, maximizing efficiency and
sometimes even producing drinking water from thin air.
Here are a few that caught our eye.
Water out of thin air
Imagine being able to produce water simply by
extracting humidity from the air. A few companies are
perfecting technology that does just that. Ambient
Water's AW400, for example, is an atmospheric water
generation system that can produce anywhere from 300
to 600 gallons of clean drinking water per day. It can be
installed nearly anywhere there is a power source and
relative humidity of at least 40 percent.
Once the air enters the system, it is chilled to its
dew point, and the moisture is condensed onto special
stainless steel or coated coils, then channeled through
advanced filtering chambers. Through mechanical
THIRD QUARTER 2016
filtration technology, the water is purified and
immediately ready to drink.
"Most sterilizing systems use UV lights to inhibit
bacterial growth," Ambient Water CEO Keith White said.
"This uses a lot of energy, and cannot inhibit bacterial
colonies from growing inside any tubes or piping."
The AW400 uses a combination of an activated
carbon filter and HaloPure filters from HaloSource,
resulting in water that is 99.9 percent free of impurities
on the back end.
The company's technology was recently on display
at the University of California - San Diego (UCSD),
where it will be used by research teams focusing on
engineering, sustainability and water conservation.
The technology is extremely scalable, added White,
noting that multiple units can be "daisy-chained"
together to provide bulk water supply where needed.
Currently, a proposal exists to augment water
infrastructure in Latin America with the technology,
though its applications are seemingly endless and
include hospitals, disaster response and as a community
drinking water source.
Another method of extracting water from the air
does so by harnessing water molecules from fog.
Fog-harvesting technologies use giant nets that trap
the moisture and funnel all of the tiny droplets into a
container. Unfortunately, most existing systems allow a
lot of water to slip through the cracks. Traditional nets,
for example, are woven out of polyolefin mesh, a kind of
plastic with large pores. However, improvements to this