A device that can pull drinking water from the air just won the latest XPrize
By Adele Peters
A new device that sits inside a shipping container can use clean energy to almost instantly bring clean drinking water anywhere–the rooftop of an apartment building in Nairobi, a disaster zone after a hurricane in Manila, a rural village in Zimbabwe–by pulling water from the air.
The design, from the Skysource/Skywater Alliance, just won $1.5 million in the Water Abundance XPrize. The competition, which launched in 2016, asked designers to build a device that could extract at least 2,000 liters of water a day from the atmosphere (enough for the daily needs of around 100 people), use clean energy, and cost no more than 2¢ a liter.
“We do a lot of first principles thinking at XPrize when we start designing these challenges,” says Zenia Tata, who helped launch the prize and serves as chief impact officer of XPrize. Nearly 800 million people face water scarcity; other solutions, like desalination, are expensive.
Photo courtesy of Ron Kroetz.