Eole Water is currently testing a wind turbine that is engineered to pull water vapour from the atmosphere and turn it into gallons of fresh, drinkable water even in the driest of regions such as the African deserts.
They’ve recently started testing a prototype in the Abu Dhabi desert, with some pretty decent results. They’ve been able to chug out about 1,000 litres of clean, drinkable water. The unit can produce up to 1,500 litres of water in more suitable conditions.
Even though the air in many African deserts is vapor limited, it still contains some water in gaseous form. The unit is able to do this by first drawing in air from the atmosphere and passing it over a humidity condenser. The surface is made up on sheets of “food safe” stainless steel which are one metre wide and five kilometres in total length (crammed into a small space just like how our intestines are packed inside us). The steel surface is cooled by compressors powered by the wind turbine as well. The excess heat is then exhausted at the back of the turbine. The unit essentially acts like an air conditioner, but unlike ACs which give off water as a by-product, the main purpose of this installation is to gather than condensed water.
The water then flows down to a 5-stage water treatment system, including an ultraviolet filter, in order to make it perfectly safe to drink. According to them, the safety standards far exceed the requirements set by the World Health Organization (WHO). What’s great about is is that the stainless steel can last for years without corroding, cutting down on the chances of water being infected over time.
The unit design also makes it very mobile, with easy mount and dismount abilities. If a temporary shelter needs water, they can easily erect the turbine and then break it down for use somewhere else once its purpose is fulfilled.
Here’s the demonstration video (from 2012) when they first launched the concept.