Access to safe, affordable, and reliable drinking water is a basic human right. While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people around the world – mostly in rural areas – still lack access to clean water.
Several projects are popping up across the world, such as Solar Desalination Skylight, water desalination using solar energy, extracting drinking water from thin air, and more – to help meet the global need for safely managed drinking water.
In similar efforts, Arizona-based SOURCE Global has developed a solar atmospheric water harvesting technology called the SOURCE Hydropanel. This one-of-a-kind renewable water technology uses the power of the sun to extract an endless volume of clean, reliable drinking water from the air where it’s needed.
The system operates without an external source of electricity and requires no traditional water infrastructure. Fans inside the Hydropanels draw in ambient air and push it through a hygroscopic or water-absorbing material that traps water vapor from the air. Using the power of the sun, the system converts the molecules into liquid water, which is collected in a reservoir inside the panel and then released as pure water. The collected water is then mineralized for ideal composition and taste, making premium-quality drinking water a readily available resource.
Since Hydropanels are a solar-powered technology, SOURCE requires exposure to sunlight to make water. The water production, therefore, can vary depending on the weather in the location where it is installed. However, the company says the SOURCE technology is optimized for a wide range of conditions and can even produce water in low to medium sun and humidity. The manufacturer also claims that a single Hydropanel eliminates the need for 54,000 single-use plastic water bottles over its 15-year lifespan.
Hydropanel arrays can scale from two-panel systems for single families to large water farms that serve entire communities, and the technology is now being used in more than 50 countries across multiple applications.
Last week, the company announced the partnership with Tearfund, a global charity dedicated to tackling poverty through sustainable development, to bring its innovative drinking water technology to Nepalese communities in urgent need of a safe, local drinking water solution.
SOURCE Global is not the only company producing clean water from thin air. There are several other projects working on similar technology, such as Spanish Aquaer’s machine capable of extracting drinking water from thin air and AQUOVUM’s water generators. Also, researchers at the University of Texas developed a salt-friendly hydrogel that quickly extracts large amounts of fresh drinking water from the air.