Solar-powered hydropanel harvests up to 10 liters of drinking water per day from air

Around 40% of homes in the Navajo Nation do not have access to clean drinking water. People need to drive from their rural homes into towns miles away to buy all the water they need for cooking, drinking, cleaning, and livestock because there’s no infrastructure to bring it through pipes. The Navajo population needs access to secure drinking water without the need to travel to attain it.

Now, Zero Mass Water – Arizona-based manufacturer of SOURCE hydropanel technology – partnered with local Navajo governments and Navajo Power, a public benefit corporation, to install an initial 15 rapid access clean water systems to Navajo Households. SOURCE hydropanel technology can harvest up to 10 liters of clean, safe drinking water per day from the air, at no cost to the family.

The hydropanels use the power of the sun to absorb water vapor from the air. Using solar PV, SOURCE takes in ambient air via fans and collects water vapor from that air onto a hygroscopic or water-absorbing material. This material is responsible for condensing water vapor and transforming it into the liquid, which is trapped in the equipment’s reservoir.

Solar-powered hydropanel harvests up to 10 liters of drinking water per day from air.
Zero Mass Water’s SOURCE hydropanel is bringing water to Navajo Nation. Credit: Navajo Nation

The collected water is mineralized, which guarantees the ideal flavor and composition for consumption. The water is then sent to the tap and is ready to be consumed. On average, each Hydropanel produces 90-150 liters of high-quality drinking water per month

In this initial demonstration project, 15 homes received two SOURCE panels each, for a total of 30 panels. “A standard, two-panel array, produces 4-10 liters of water each day and has 60 liters of storage capacity. The size of each panel is 4 feet by 8 feet, lasts for 15 years, and utilizes solar power and a small battery to enable water production,” said Cody Frisen, CEO of Zero Mass Water. “The quality of water produced exceeds the standards of every country where the systems have been deployed.

Solar-powered hydropanel harvests up to 10 liters of drinking water per day from air.
It is possible for hydropanels to be installed in small residential houses and on school roofs. Credit: Navajo Nation

Currently, the technology is supplying clean drinking water to tens of thousands of people in 45 countries through partnerships with governments, corporations, and development organizations. In the future, it is possible for hydropanels to be installed in small residential houses and on school roofs, setting up a large system that guarantees water for an entire community.

There are thousands of homes without water, and this is a more cost-effective approach to getting clean water to these families,” said Clara Pratte, President of Navajo Power. A standard array with two panels runs about $4000, plus another $500 for installation.

While our focus as a company is the development of largely clean energy projects, our commitment to the well-being of Navajo communities is our north star, and we want to do everything we can to help the Nation mitigate the threats brought by the pandemic,” Pratte added.

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