Company plans to pull drinking water from thin air
One day, Marc Parent, the founder of Eole Water, noticed how much water his air conditioner condenser produced while it was running. From this, an idea was born: why not use wind turbines to condense ambient humidity into large quantities of potable water?
After 10 years of R&D, Eole claims that its initial WMS1000 30kW turbine can produce up to 1000 liters of water a day under ideal conditions. For comparison, the average American uses around 500 liters a day while a person in Africa uses around 15. The company further claims to have had a prototype running in the Arab city-state of Abu Dhabi that has produced 800 liters of water a day. It must be noted that while it is in a desert, Abu Dhabi does experience relatively high relative humidity due to its location on the sea. While Eole has not released data demonstrating performance in more arid zones, it can logically be assumed that the higher the relative humidity of a location, the more water is gathered.
Fresh water is a pressing issue in many parts of the world due to both climate change and, above all, population growth. The UN estimates that over a billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water. Many developed and developing nations such as Saudi Arabia, Israel and China, struggle to meet the demands for fresh water. As such, these nations often turn to costly (from energy use) and environmentally damaging (waste salt and other pollution) desalinization schemes.
While innovative desalination systems are on the drawing board, Eole claims several benefits over removing salt such as portability, relatively simple design and robust components that promise decades of problem-free service. Above all, the company emphasizes the fact that the water doesn’t come from ground sources like some wells — sources that are many times non-renewable.
According to Eole’s website, the company has been especially marketing itself in the Gulf States where potable water is a perennial issue.
So, perhaps in a few years when you turn on the tap to drink some refreshing, crystal clear water you just might be enjoying the fruits of simple inspiration from the simple comfort of an AC.