Solar-Powered Panels Pull Water Out of the Air For Navajo Families Who Have None
What if there was a way of pulling vapor from the atmosphere and bringing it through faucets as clean, drinkable water?
Harnessing the power of the sun, Zero Mass Water’s Source hydropanels do just that.
Through a grant provided by the Unreasonable Group and Barclays Bank, an initial demonstration project is bringing this pioneering air-to-water technology to 15 Navajo households.
This project is being managed by Navajo Power, Public Benefit Corporation, and Arizona-based Zero Mass Water.
Already, the demonstration project is proving to be a hit. “We are so happy to see these systems come to our communities who have not had basic access to water for all of these years,” said Mae Franklin of the Cameron and Coalmine communities.
But how exactly does this unique technology work?
While some of that answer is shrouded by proprietary trade secrecy and multiple patented inventions, we do know the hydropanels—powered by off-grid solar energy—have fans that draw air in the atmosphere and push it through what’s called a hygroscopic. From there, the trapped water vapor is extracted and gets condensed into liquid that’s collected in the reservoir of the hydropanel.
So that it has the ideal taste and composition, that collected water is then mineralized. Now it can be run through the faucet and is ready to drink.
The state-of-the-art technology doesn’t end there. Each Hydropanel connects to a cloud-based network and is monitored for performance and quality that way.
Source hydropanels are already well-established globally, with the technology currently supplying clean drinking water to tens of thousands of people in 45 countries through partnerships with governments, corporations, and development organizations.
There’s potential for this technology to go bigger still: Similar to cellular telephones and renewable energy technologies, the scalability of Source enables hydropanels to be deployed at small residential homes, roof-mounted on schools or community halls, and even in “water farms” adjacent to entire communities.
“A standard, two-panel array, produces 4-10 liters of water each day, and has 60 liters of storage capacity,” said Cody Frisen, CEO of Zero Mass Water. In addition, each panel ”lasts for 15 years and utilizes solar power and a small battery to enable water production.”
As for the quality of the water? It ”exceeds the standards of every country where the systems have been deployed.”
“We are excited to help shine a light on the potential of Hydropanels to help solve the clean water access challenge our communities have been facing for decades,” said Clara Pratte, President of Navajo Power.
“There are thousands of homes without water and this is a more cost-effective approach to getting clean water to these families. While our focus as a company is the development of large clean energy projects, our commitment to the well-being of Navajo communities is our north star, and we want to do everything we can to help the Nation mitigate the threats brought by the pandemic.”
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