Lea Stewart

Beetle-Inspired Bottle Harvests Drinking Water From Thin Air

by , 07/07/10
filed under: biomimicry, Water Issues

dew bank, water, fog, beetle, harvesting, collecting, desert, nomad, eco, green, sustainable, design, IDEA Awards, biomimicry, water bottle

For over one hundred years, scientists and engineers have been studying ways to effectively harvest fog as a source of water in arid regions. Although some of these man-made systems have proved useful, the plants and insects that inhabit deserts are far more efficient dew collectors. One ingenious bug known as the “fog beetle” collects drinking water by perching in an opportune position that allows dew droplets to collect in ridges on its back. Seeing this, designer Pak Kitae developed an ingenious biomimicking Dew Bank bottle that could provide hydration to millions of people that lack accessible drinking water.

dew bank, water, fog, beetle, harvesting, collecting, desert, nomad, eco, green, sustainable, design, IDEA Awards, biomimicry, water bottle

In the morning, the bottle’s ribbed stainless steel dome becomes colder than the air, forming dew drops that slide over the shell and into a channel circling the base. Each day, the Fog Beetle can collect enough water to match 40% of its body weight. Kitae’s suggests that his bottle could collect at least enough for one glass of thirst quenching water.

The Dew Bank was a Bronze Prize winner in the 2010 IDEA Design Awards. We agree that Kitae’s bottle is notable, and we hope to see more amazing water-harvesting innovations for desert dwellers.

+ Pak Kitae

Via Yankodesign

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4 Comments

  1. Cv Unnikrishnan December 14, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I only hope they do not commercialise the technology.

  2. ken matsui November 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    This innovative water collection system is very interesting to me. I am a fan of using biomimicry to solve problems. When organisms adapt and survive in harsh desert conditions for ages, it is logical for humans to learn the techniques used by these organisms. Why try to invent something completely new and hope that it would work, when there is a working model right in front of us in nature? In the case of the Dew Bank bottle, it uses the basic idea of water collection, inspired by the fog beetle, and further improves the efficiency of the technique. The use of stainless steel to collect more condensation, and the form of the bottle allow for more water to accumulate is an effective, yet simple way of improving water collection. However this does bring up a few questions. Does this water collection system only work in areas with fog, or can it work in areas with fairly limited amounts moisture in the air? How affordable is this bottle going to be, if produced? Will the people currently living in arid conditions be able to afford it? With rainwater becoming more and more acidic and becoming unsafe to drink, what methods are there to make this safer (i.e. filtering, boiling the water)?

    Being an architecture major, the thought of using this technology in larger scale was instantly brought up in my mind and it seems like I’m not alone (see above comment). Domed shelters could possibly be created in dry areas, and create water collection for those living there. This technique could also be used in areas where clean water is not readily available as well. By implementing the techniques of this water collection system, the quality of life would drastically improve. The water could not only be used for drinking but for cleaning and sanitation as well, much like the rainwater harvesting technology seen today. Thanks for the interesting post.

  3. yipbop July 21, 2010 at 5:15 am

    Very cool and clever idea.
    http://greenbottle.com

  4. rtb808 July 7, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    how about one big enough to serve as a shelter/roof as well as water-catchment for a family of 3-4?-)

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