Water-from-air systems often use ultraviolet light means to sanitize the incoming air, the stored water, and the water as it is being dispensed. This 4-page fact sheet, by the nonprofit IUVA, is useful knowledge for the water-from-air industry community as it copes with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, I was invited to discuss some aspects of water-from-air technologies as posts (each about a one minute read) in the GWW Connect Network. I posted the seventh and final article today. Here are links to the posts.
This article is a good overview of the COVID-19 virus in relation to systems processing drinking water and wastewater. Water-from-air machines (atmospheric water generators, AWGs) are, of course, small-scale drinking water systems. Even though the drinking water within the system may be safe, spigot handles and machine surfaces could be contaminated by viruses and bacteria. Machine users should wash their hands before operating the machine. Machine surfaces, spigots, and spigot handles should be sanitized frequently.
For the air-side of water-from-air systems, relevant information is provided at ASHRAE Resources Available to Address COVID-19 Concerns.
For the water-side of water-from-air systems there are two good sources of information:
This newly published article, by water industry experts Mary Conley Eggert and Graham Symmonds, is worthwhile reading for current perspectives about the role of water-from-air technologies in drinking water supply infrastructures.
The Water-from-Air Industry is actively growing! This chart is from the data table below tabulating the founding years for Water-from-Air companies [suppliers of Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs)]. Companies that failed between 1990 and the present are not included. Only those companies with active websites as of today are included. Founding year information is from the company websites or the LinkedIn profiles of the companies or their founders. The two pre-1990 companies were not set up initially as water-from-air equipment suppliers. Companies started in the 2016–2017 peak years were not apparently a direct response to the Water Abundance XPrize competition which ran during 2016–2018. Founding years were not available for 11 of the 73 companies listed below. The last 10 years saw the formation of 37 firms—half of the existing companies. There has been no apparent merger and acquisition activity. Dozens of companies are marketing actively their AWGs. At least two or three dozen units are operating worldwide (see Case Studies page). According to O'Callaghan and others (2018) when "at least 3 companies actively offer versions of the technology; [with] more than 12 full-scale units in operation" this is one signal the industry is in the "Early and Late Majority" stage which can typically last 12 to 16 years. Two other signals stated by O'Callaghan and colleagues are that "Consulting engineers now specify the technology..." and "Efficiencies [are] gained in engineering design and process optimization."
Reference: O'Callaghan, P. and others (2018). Development and Application of a Model to Study Water Technology Adoption. Water Environment Research, June 2018, 563–574.
This YouTube video by the Dutch foundation, Happy With Water Foundation, reviews several atmospheric water vapour processing methods and then states that an absorption cooling method using solar energy and vacuum tubes with heat pipes reduces the energy cost of water making it relatively more affordable and practical compared to most other options.
Field trial of the AKVOS water-from-air system in January 2018 on Sal Island, Cabo Verde. The water production module is on the left and the atmospheric water vapour absorption module is on the right. Water vapour in the air is aborbed by liquid glycerol flowing on the white fabric in the metal framework. The hydrated glycerol is transferred to the water production module. Solar heat is used to evaporate water out of the glycerol. The water vapour condenses into liquid water on the bottom inside surface of the module. Photo by Roland Wahlgren.
For some time I have wanted to highlight this interesting water-from-air system. The photo shows a prototype system using glycerol as the liquid desiccant to absorb water vapour from the air on Sal Island in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean (17°N, 23°W). The prototype was designed and built by Dr. Pavel Lehky who holds United States Patent 9,200,434 B2 for the system. The field trials were done during Team AKVOS's participation in the Water Abundance XPRIZE competition. I was a member of the team. During a typical night at the site, the absorption module with its 9 square metres of surface area absorbed over 4 L of water. The 0.25 sq. m. production module was able to recover about 0.3 L of this during a typical day. So, one of the lessons from the trial was the water production module area has to be better matched to the capacity of the absorption module. Improving the efficiency of the water production module is also of benefit—this is a focus of ongoing design improvements. Find out more about Stiftung Sanakvo (Team AKVOS) at their website. Sanakvo also has a video on YouTube with an explanation of the system and showing the prototype operating during the field trial.
Visit the new Case Studies page to learn about practical applications of water-from-air systems!
Drinking-water Industry Organizations Links is a new page on the Atmoswater Research website. I hope people in the industry find it to be useful. Please tell me if there are other industry organizations that should be listed on this page. Thanks!
Do atmospheric water generators—producing water with low total dissolved solids (TDS)—need to incorporate a mineralization feature into their design? Reading this article by the Water Quality Association gives you the knowledge to make an informed choice or to have a useful discussion about this topic.
The Water Quality Association has a useful knowledge-base, much of it relevant to water-from-air systems, available on its Technical Fact Sheets page.
Patricia Oliver, a librarian in St. Croix, phoned me. Her library used an atmospheric water generator (AWG) and it worked very well year-round---climate conditions are ideal for operating water-from-air systems. Ms Oliver believes AWGs are much needed in St. Croix. The problem is that local firms are wary of importing machines because there are limited options for servicing the machines. If you, as a water-from-air systems supplier, would like to enter into a dialog with Ms Oliver about contributing to solutions for the drinking water supply challenges in St. Croix, please ask me for her contact details. Thank you!
The University of California, Berkley research group led by Omar M. Yaghi published recently an article in ACS Central Science describing how they built and tested a metal-organic framework water harvester prototype. The system produced fresh water at the rate of 0.7 L/day in the Mojave Desert during a 3-day trial (October 17–20, 2018). During this period the ambient air dew-point was less than 5 °C for 85% of the time.
#WaterfromAir Industry News: Jeff Szur, formerly VP of Drinkable Air, starts The Trident Water Company
You can read the update by Jeff Szur at this link: https://mailchi.mp/5b1d9c7272fb/my-new-venture?fbclid=IwAR3ZLsQGIUKDRT3lPfATLn4ATO2Shjfjs1QKXEus_9L5rZRl2N1cUL0FBt0
"Thanks Roland, I have great admiration for your website and content, a great resource!"
- comment from a new LinkedIn connection today
Are you a supplier of products to the water-from-air industry? Attract more traffic to your website and gain new sales prospects by advertising on our Suppliers Links page. This is the most visited page on our site with visitors from around the world. Faced with the list of 70 or so suppliers, people looking for water-from-air systems are a bit perplexed as to where to start their search for a reliable equipment source. It is easy to imagine they start by looking at who is advertising—advertisers have enhanced credibility.
The Atmoswater Research website requires money and time to maintain and improve the content for the benefit of the entire industry. Advertising with us and purchasing our digital goods helps provide the financial support needed for long term evolution. A big thank you to our customers!
Please contact Roland Wahlgren to discuss your company's plans for advertising on our site!
Recently, the magazine, Inc., published an article about the Source Hydropanel manufactured by Zero Mass Water. A sidebar in the article said the device produces 5 litres per day of clean water and that the cost for each panel is USD 2000. A link to the article was posted on LinkedIn. A LinkedIn member wondered what would be the "levelized" cost of water per gallon. This blog post shows one method for answering the question. The spreadsheet shows that direct capital cost is only part of the equation. But, for a quick analysis let us proceed with the bare bones information in the Inc. article.
For a 10 year equipment lifetime, cost of water (USD) is $0.41 per gallon. For 15 years it is $0.28 per gallon and for 20 years it is $0.21 per gallon.
Today, I learned about Aalto University's Water Scarcity Atlas from The Water Network. The atlas is a useful and credible resource for learning about various aspects of the water supply challenges facing humanity. For those of us in the water-from-air community it is definitely worth visiting and bookmarking. The atlas is a useful guide to the regions on which to focus water-from-air research and development efforts.The data & code section of the atlas website had a link to the City Water Map Initiative whose data source was
McDonald and others (2014). Water on an urban planet: Urbanization and the reach of urban water infrastructure. Global Environmental Change 27, 96–105.
This paper gives the results of the first global survey of the water sources for the world's largest cities. Table 2 in the paper lists the largest cities enduring water stress. The cities (in order of population) are Tokyo, Delhi, Mexico City, Shanghai, Beijing, Kolkata, Karachi, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Istanbul, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Lima, London (UK), Wuhan, Tianjin, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.
Enjoy watching our 4 minute 40 second video presentation about using mechanical dehumidification technology for obtaining drinking water from the water vapour in the air. To access the video, just click on the image above.
Chemical & Engineering News published an interesting article about drinking-water-from-air technologies which may be accessed at by clicking on the page excerpt image above.
The September 28, 2018 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Palu has caused shortages of clean water (see for example, "Palu earthquake, tsunami victims get clean water support", The Jakarta Post). The Water-from-Air Resource Chart for Palu is a free download.
This article is a nice up-to-date review about water-from-air technologies. Tim Smedley, the writer, interviewed me about some of the information that appears in the article. You can find the online article by clicking on the image above.
For blog readers who may relish a scientific conference about water—The Welch Foundation Conference on Chemical Research "Water: Science and Technology" will take place in Houston, TX October 22-23, 2018. I am going! You can learn more about the conference at http://www.welch1.org/conference/conference-program —be warned— the experience will likely be similar to attending university lectures in chemistry and physics!
In response to a reader's comments, the July 2018 reprinted second edition incorporates enhanced temperature versus relative humidity psychrometric tables in Chapter 4 with wider temperature ranges (0–55 °C; 32–132 °F) for finding water vapour density, humidity ratio, and dew-point. This makes the tables more useful for cities like Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Dubai.
This reprint also has a revised Appendix 6: Economics of Off-grid Solar PV for WFA. There are two detailed examples in the Appendix. The first example is for a 1.05 kW input power atmospheric water generator using 1-phase electric power. The second example is for a 2.1 kW input power atmospheric water generator using 3-phase electric power.The Appendix presents clear diagrams showing the main components of single-phase and three-phase off-grid solar PV systems. The Appendix concludes by revealing, for each example, the ratio comparing the price of an off-grid solar PV system to the price of the atmospheric water generator.
The Water-from-Air Quick Guide may be purchased from Amazon.
Did you know LinkedIn has a group devoted to the topic of Atmospheric Water Generators? It has 50 members at this time. The Group Owner is Stuart Shapiro, EVP at Infinite Water, Inc.
I encourage anyone interested in the water-from-air field to join the group and contribute to discussions relevant to AWG technologies.
Five new products, of interest to professionals involved with pyschrometrics, meteorology, HVAC, dehumidification, and water-from-air systems (atmospheric water generators) have been added to the category, "Tables" in the Atmoswater Research online store:
I have been researching and developing drinking-water-from-air technologies since 1984. As a physical geographer, I strive to contribute an accurate, scientific point-of-view to the field.