Wind-powered device can produce 11 gallons per day of clean drinking water from the air

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WaterSeer is a low-tech, low-cost atmospheric water condenser that could help create water self-sufficiency in communities around the world.

A new device developed by VICI-Labs, in collaboration with UC Berkeley and the National Peace Corps Association, aims to provide a sustainable source of clean safe water for the millions without a reliable water supply. In the developed world, where most homes and businesses have ready access to clean water at the turn of a tap, we don’t really have to worry about most waterborne diseases, or dehydration, or the ability to wash our selves, our clothes, or our eating utensils, but those worries are still very real for the millions around the world without a reliable clean water source. The WaterSeer could help to alleviate some of those water poverty issues.

The WaterSeer is relatively simple device, designed to be operated without an external power input, and without the need for costly chemicals or maintenance, that can ‘pull’ moisture from thin air and condense it into water using the temperature difference between the above-ground turbine and the collection chamber installed six feet underground. The potable water can then be delivered to the surface for use via a simple pump and hose, and the device is said to be able to produce up to 11 gallons per day, even in arid regions.

And the best part? The WaterSeer will be priced at just $134.

"Previous solutions based on condensation use a great deal of energy, usually in the form of diesel-powered compressors and evaporators. They are basically big air conditioners. Some use powerful and dangerous chemicals that can damage the immediate environment. They are also difficult to move, require high technical skills to operate, and expensive to operate and maintain. WaterSeer uses no power or chemicals of any kind. It is completely non-polluting and its simple construction is inexpensive and maintenance free."

WaterSeer

The above-ground turbine spins in the breeze, turning internal fan blades and sending air down into a condensation chamber, where the air is naturally cooled by the surrounding earth, which causes the water vapor to condense into liquid water that flows into a reservoir below. The current model of WaterSeer, which is based on a unit first developed and then tested at the UC Berkeley Gill Tract Farm this spring, will be field-tested in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association over the next 6 months, with the intent of shipping the finalized design within the next year.

The team is currently seeking crowdfunding to underwrite the field-testing and to generate pre-orders that will fuel the WaterSeer ‘buy one give one’ model, which will see a device go to a family in the developing world for each one purchased. Backers at the $134 level will be able to reserve a WaterSeer unit of their own, which will be fulfilled once production begins.