SunGlacier distills water from the air

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The future is looking unfavourable for many aspects of our environment, fresh water deposits being one of them. Drought has already been affecting countries around the world at an increased rate; any new methods of obtaining fresh water are certainly welcome. There has been a considerable amount of research conducted into converting salt water into fresh water. Going a step further, SunGlacier, a project originating in the Netherlands, has taken on the challenge of extracting water from thin air. SunGlacier is spearheaded by artist Ap Verheggen and supported by a team of fellow collaborators. The project has produced a series of outcomes that are all inspired by the question of whether it is possible to create ice in the desert. This rather poetic notion may have some very repercussions for the wider public.

SunGlacier began with SunGlacier DC 01, a wooden fountain structure that collects water vapour from the air. It is entirely powered by solar panels, and able to function without human intervention. The next project, WaterCube, takes the concept and turns it into something more practical. A metal cube, surrounded by solar panels, conceals a refrigeration device. Water condensation is produced and directed into a glass via a cone-shaped drip.

DC 03 is the next elaboration of this contraption. Looking like a space probe balanced on three long legs, this iteration is much lighter, and therefore transportable. Here, an 18 watt peltier element is used to cool down the elongated aluminium cone, which attracts condensation from the air. Like in DC 02, it directs the water into a vessel positioned below. At this stage, only half a glass of water is produced over six hours. However, the SunGlacier team is already working on better versions of this device, which should allow it to be used for industrial means in the future. Read more about these exciting developments on their website. And if you have some ideas concerning water yourself, check out the Wetskills Foundation, of which Ad Verhrggen is an ambassador. They hold workshops and all kinds of networking events to encourage innovation and research in this sector.