A Spanish company has devised a system to extract drinking water from thin air to supply arid regions where people are in desperate need.
“The goal is to help people,” said Enrique Veiga, the 82-year-old engineer who invented the machine during a harsh drought in southern Spain in the 1990s. “The goal is to get to places like refugee camps that don’t have drinking water.”
The devices made by his company, Aquaer, are already delivering clean, safe water to communities in Namibia and a Lebanese refugee camp.
The machines use electricity to cool air until it condenses into water, harnessing the same effect that causes condensation in air-conditioning units.
While other water generators based on similar technology require high ambient humidity and low temperatures to function effectively, Veiga’s machines work in temperatures of up to 40 C (104F) and can handle humidity of between 10% and 15%.
A small machine can produce 50-75 liters a day, and be easily carried on a trolley, but bigger versions can produce up to 5,000 liters a day.