New Machine Can Suck Water Out Of Air–Could Work On Caribbean Solar Power.

Phot: Pixabay. If lakes that serve as reservoirs dry up, then alternative sources of water must be found.
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A device that absorbs water from air to produce drinkable water was officially launched in Australia Wednesday.

New technologies for producing water are always good news in the Caribbean.

Caribbean islands are in a water crisis, and their governments have warned that water scarcity may become the new norm.

Within the past five years, every island in the region has experienced some sort of water scarcity. For example, Trinidad is experiencing its worst drought in recent memory, and residents are under water restrictions through at least the end of June 2024, with fines for anyone who violates the rules.

Jamaica is also facing water restrictions and has had to resort to water shutoffs in recent years, limiting water availability to a few hours per day in some areas. St. Vincent and St. Kitts have had to ration water. Barbados has experienced several water bans in recent years.

In fact, recent data shows that the Caribbean is one of the most water-stressed regions in the world.

Researchers say the so-called Hydro Harvester, capable of producing up to 1,000 liters of drinkable water a day, could be “lifesaving during drought or emergencies.”

The device absorbs water from the atmosphere. Solar energy or heat that is harnessed from, for example, industrial processes are used to generate hot, humid air. That is then allowed to cool, producing water for drinking or irrigation.

The Australian team said that unlike other commercially available atmospheric water generators, their invention works by heating air instead of cooling it.

Laureate Professor Behdad Moghtaderi, a chemical engineer and director of the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Innovative Energy Technologies, told VOA how the technology operates.

“Hydro Harvester uses an absorbing material to absorb and dissolve moisture from air. So essentially, we use renewable energy, let’s say, for instance, solar energy or waste heat. We basically produce super saturated, hot, humid air out of the system,” Moghtaderi said. “When you condense water contained in that air you would have the drinking water at your disposal.”

The researchers say the device can produce enough drinking water each day to sustain a small rural town of up to 400 people. It could also help farmers keep livestock alive during droughts.

Moghtaderi says the technology could be used in parts of the world where water is scarce.

Researchers were motivated by the fact that Australia is an arid and dry country.

“More than 2 billion people around the world, they are in a similar situation where they do not have access to, sort of, high-quality water and they deal with water scarcity,” Moghtaderi said

Trials of the technology will be conducted in several remote Australian communities this year.

The World Economic Forum, an international research organization, says “water scarcity continues to be a pervasive global challenge.”

It believes that atmospheric water generation technology is a “promising emergency solution that can immediately generate drinkable water using moisture in the air.”

However, it cautions that generally the technology is not cheap, and estimates that one mid-sized commercial unit can cost between $30,000 and $50,000.

Source: VOA.
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