Sunday, September 20, 2015

Make Your Own Drinking Water


You can make your own drinking water!


You can make your own purified drinking water from the air.

How is this possible?
Much like a dehumidifier, an atmospheric water purification system harnesses moisture from the air and processes it into pure drinking water. Water that made this way is more pure than that obtained from the ground. Some devices that are currently available to the public eliminate 99.99% of contaminants. These devices utilize a multi-step process that includes: an electrostatic filter that removes dust particles and pollen, a germicidal UV light that kills bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, a coconut filter that removes heavy metals, mineral salts and chlorine residuals, and a reverse osmosis component to remove remaining pathogens. Some systems even have a "zero waste" capability unlike first generation systems.

Who is using this technology?
A shortage of clean drinking water gave impetus to a collaborative project by the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru and ad agency, Mayo Draft FCB, to create a billboard in Lima, Peru, a coastal desert. In Lima, there is an average daily relative humidity that ranges from 83 to 100%, but less than one inch of rainfall per year. This billboard generates about 100 liters/26 gallons per day of clean drinking water.


Right now a billboard in Lima, Peru is making water out of thin air, 26 gallons/100 liters per day.
A French company by the name of Eole has implemented similar technology in Abu Dhabi that harnesses wind power via a turbine that generates 1400 liters of pure water per day. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately a billion people lack access to clean drinking water. This type of technology could solve or greatly reduce the lack of drinking water issue throughout the world.

In the United States, there are a handful of producers of atmospheric water purification systems. There is not a lot of information out there regarding institutions that are doing research and development of this type of product.

I cannot find any local information on atmospheric water purification systems that are being used or technology that is being developed or implemented locally. I will keep searching and update if I find something.


2 years:
More research will be done to advance the development of the atmospheric water purification system.  More "billboard" systems might be installed in Peru and different areas of the world with water shortages.

20+ years:
Every person/family in the world has their own system. New and retrofit models are developed for new construction and existing dwellings. It becomes a part of mainstream construction to incorporate this technology into new homes and city infrastructures.


Possible Positive Outcomes:
- Could help developing countries where public utilities are not available
- Could be built on a larger scale to help irrigate areas afflicted by drought
- Filters can be recycled so there is no waste
- Will even produce water in dry desert climates
- Could create a model using solar power/clean energy; 100% sustainability
- Viable solution to clean drinking water where there is none available in third world countries and civilized countries that have a diminishing water supplies
- Is it possible that big industry makes positive changes to take polluted waste air and supply pure drinking water for public use by this method? (We can hope!)
- Safer for the earth than the alternatives, such as purifying ocean water

Possible Negative Outcomes:
- Currently, these atmospheric water purification systems are very expensive
- Current systems use electricity
- Air pollutions could cause unhealthy air resource for water production
- Corrupt big industry gets a hold of technology and monopolizes air supplied to create water supply for industrial use
- Environmental impact of current technology of atmospheric water purification systems unknown

Region of the Future:

Biotech, Naturetech, Humantech


1. How much does pollution affect the effectiveness of purifying water through this method?
2. Are there other products that could spin off of atmospheric water purification systems? Smaller/larger scale technology?
3. Might there be potential to partner with builders to install these systems just as HVAC systems are installed in new construction?
4. Might there be more opportunities to partner with educational institutions to install these in other areas with water shortage?
5. Might there be corporations that would be willing to partner and/or subsidize installations of large scale atmospheric water purification systems in areas in need? Would be mutually beneficial (water would be supplied to those in need and it would be good PR for companies willing to fund these projects.)

Great message from Moby:


  1. I think those are some really good questions and I actually found a company that is pulling water from air in drought and desert locations. They range from something that can be worn like a back pack or installed on vehicle or even a stationary location. I think it would be really impactful for places that are very humid to pull that water out and ship it to dryer regions!

    1. I was thinking about a backpack adaptation for this technology too. I did not know it already suggested. Would be a good personal use version of this type of system.

  2. Asking more questions:

    Is this accessible to the poor? Is it easily repairable? Does it leave communities dependent on industrial nations for their water? If answers are no, no, yes — I'm afraid of it being a colonial solution.

    Also, would this affect natural rainwater cycles?

    1. I agree, Emma. I need to look into this further. I had the same questions about it screwing up Mother Nature's natural processes. I think if there were some large corporations that would be willing to foot the bill for the countries with fewer resources to install this type of equipment, maybe it could be mutually beneficial for corporations looking for positive PR and for the countries getting the systems (as long as the large corps aren't doing other things that are detrimental to the enviro.)

  3. This is cool-a concept similar to the one I researched.
    I think it would be a lot more reliable as far as fully cleaning the water than the C-Water concept I looked at (one of the negative impacts I listed was that it may not extract as many toxins as efficiently.
    With fresh water being predicted to become scarce in hundreds of years to come, I think it is smart, efficient, and necessary to develop options of sustainable resources.


Just keeping things on the up and up since this is for my students to communicate first.