PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

PaintSquare


Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Making Drinking Water out of Thick Air

Friday, August 9, 2013

Comment | More

We’ve all heard that you can’t get blood from a stone. But water from a desert billboard?

Engineers in Lima, Peru, have worked with an ad agency to pull it off.

UTEC billboard
Images, video: UTEC / MayoDraftFBC

Capturing humidity from Lima's saturated air, the billboard produces about 26 gallons of water a day for residents of the world's second-largest desert city.

The billboard produces about 100 liters (about 26 gallons) of water a day "from nothing more than humidity, a basic filtration system, and a little gravitational ingenuity," as Time Magazine put  it.

Ad Campaign

The invention began with a drive by the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) to find a flashy way to kick off its application period for 2013 enrollment. The university said it was looking for engineering students who wanted to "change the world."

Working with the ad agency Mayo DraftFBC, the parties—somehow—came up with the notion of inventing a billboard that could produce water.

It was an unlikely plan, to say the least: Lima is the second-largest desert city in the world after Cairo, and the billboard would be located smack in middle of the Peruvian desert.

The region gets about one-half inch of rain each year, and many residents rely on well water, which is scarce and often polluted.

Lima, Peru

About 1.2 million residents of Lima lack running water, according to a 2011 report.

In 2011, the British newspaper The Independent called Lima "The desert city in serious danger of running dry."

Humidity to the Rescue

The good news for UTEC, meteorologically speaking: The region's humidity level is about 98 percent. With the air suffused with moisture, the next challenge was to develop the technology to extract it.

Billboard schematic

And so they did, eventually building a system that employs five generators that capture the humidity and process it through a reverse-osmosis system that also includes filtration.

In the first three months, the system produced 9,450 liters of potable water—enough, the developers say, to satisfy the needs of hundreds of families each month.

Looking Ahead

The engineering school has not said whether it is planning to install additional billboards in Peru or elsewhere.

But it has already increased its applications by future world-changing engineers 28 percent.

   

Tagged categories: Education; Engineers; Research

Comment from Gary Alkire, (8/9/2013, 7:38 AM)

So they made a large dehumidifier.......how much does the water cost per gallon?


Comment from M. Halliwell, (8/12/2013, 11:26 AM)

Interesting idea. Sounds like you're right, Gary....large dehumidifier with treatment to make the water potable...but if you've got upflow winds or decent sunshine, it might be possible to set it up solar or wind powered too. Up front costs would be fairly high, especially for a place like Lima, but I would suspect the lifetime cost per litre could be fairly reasonable.


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/15/2013, 9:44 AM)

So, how much additional power is consumed to produce 26 gallons of water per day? Also, the numbers of supported families just don't add up. Each person needs a bare minimum of 1 gallon per day for drinking and cooking - with no clothes washing, showers, baths, toilets, etc. there is no way you can support "hundreds of families" on 26 gallons a day.


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
SAFE Systems, Inc.
 
Enduroguard -
The Tough Cable
for a Tough Industry.
 
Reduce maintenance costs and down time, increase job site safety with Enduroguard Cable. Available exclusively from SAFE Systems. UL listed, flexible, abrasion resistant and cut resistant.
 

 
Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
 
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
 
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.
 

 
SABRE Autonomous Solutions
 
Quality
 
The ALPHA1 provides a consistent finish day-in
day-out; job to job.
 

 
Safway Services
 
Safeguard Assets. Ensure Productivity. HAKI®
 
Protect assets and equipment. Keep facilities open and operational. Maintain schedules regardless of weather. Ensure smooth and continuous production. Easy to erect. Safway is the primary distributor of HAKI® products including HAKISPAN and HAKITEC® 750 – in North America.
 

 
PPG Protective and Marine Coatings Group
 
We Protect and Beautify the World
 
PPG is widely recognized as a world leader in protective and marine coatings, developing innovative, cutting-edge products and services.
 

 
W Abrasives
 
Optimize your blasting process and operations!
 
Blasting is a complex process that goes above and beyond the simple question of the shot used, no matter how innovative and efficient it is. W Abrasives is there to help.
 

 
Aggreko
 
Dehumidification, Power and Temperature Control Rentals
 
Aggreko offers rental solutions for your painting/coating project. Dehumidifiers, cooling, heating, power and 24/7 service, nationwide.
844-433-9802
 

 
KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office
 
KTA-Tator EH&S Services
 
• Ambient & Worker Exposure Air Monitoring
• Safety & Health Program Development
• Lead Paint Assessments
& Specifications
• Health Hazard & Jobsite Safety Assessments
Call 1-800-532-3633
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us