Rebecca Paul

DropNet Fog Collector Harvests the Mist to Create Pure Drinking Water

by , 02/19/10

sustainable design, green design, water issues, humanitarian design, dropnet fog collector, imke hoehler, water harvesting nets, design for disaster

Every year 2.5 million people die from thirst or from drinking polluted water, and The United Nations expects that by the year 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population will be suffering from water shortage. While studying Industrial Design at Germany’s Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Imke Hoehler based her final thesis on finding a resolution to this important challenge. Her DropNet fog collector offers a versatile design that literally harvests drinking water from thin air and mist. This easy to assemble design could have a significant impact on the bleak and waterless future many climate scientists believe to be inevitable.

sustainable design, green design, water issues, humanitarian design, dropnet fog collector, imke hoehler, water harvesting nets, design for disaster

By utilizing natural and local resources, the DropNet could greatly improve the drinking water supply in many isolated areas that have limited infrastructure. This fog collector filters tiny water droplets from fog clouds and causes the droplets to coalesce. Each unit can collect 10-20 liters of water per day, and an array of several structures could easily supply a whole village with clean healthy drinking water. Due to its tent like construction the DropNet collectors can be assembled by non-skilled workers on both flat and uneven grounds.

+ Imke Hoehler

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8 Comments

  1. jeffbragg March 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Where can I get one (or maybe two)?

  2. Dr. Adnan Al Samarrie October 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Iam tring to use a workable means to collect the fog in arid area in UAE it is a part of water saving project.

  3. Beetle-Inspired Water B... July 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    [...] 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, [...]

  4. Micah1 April 19, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Good day

    I’m currently conducting my research in Cape Town South Africa on various techniques on harvesting Fog. Looked at the design and it seems useful. am I able to purchase one of these or able to obtain the design?

  5. NE February 21, 2010 at 10:09 am

    and are these mold resistant? what is the life span of one unit? how are they cleaned? is this superior to a sheet of plastic draining into a plastic jug? In the regions where this would be useful, there is already a decent humidity, anything that condenses water from mist would be as effective, but with this high surface area of Miss Hoehler’s design little is gained when considering the upkeep costs (even if the materials are mold resistant/anti bacterial–ie a silver enriched textile)

  6. BenSchechter February 21, 2010 at 3:38 am

    While this is extremely cool, the assertion that “This easy to assemble design could have a significant impact on the bleak and waterless future many climate scientists believe to be inevitable” is grossly unrealistic. The VAST majority of the world’s water consumption is in areas that a) have population densities far too great to install a bunch of these things everywhere, b) the VAST majority of water consuming urban populations do not get regular fog; ironically, the drier the climate, the more the water consumption (landscaping, etc.), and c) The daily volumes that we’re talking about here (10-20 liters per unit), even when multiplied by thousands and thousands of units, is still a drop in the bucket (ha.) of what all the billions of people “on the grid” pull daily. The ironic solution to the Water AND Energy crisis is to embrace the STRUCTURE of the “grid,” and to make the source feeding the grid (water and power) completely clean and renewable.

    So what’s the silver bullet?

    For water, it’s desalination. We have an endless supply of ocean water readily available around the world; the only thing stopping us is that the desalination process is extremely energy intensive. So, the water problem gets distilled down to, surprise, an energy problem. Given that we have already built an EXTREMELY intricate power network (and a damn fine water distribution network, as long as we’re patting ourselves on the back), we only need to change the source to make the system renewable. Windmills, solar panels, and fog collectors are intermittently effective in any given location; this needs to be a macro, not a micro, solution. And face it, when we realistically look at our majority demographic of “the average Joe and Jane,” they simply aren’t going to install a bunch of windmills, solar panels, and fog collectors on their properties in order to save the world. They either just don’t care, or are completely ignorant, or it’s too much of a hassle, or it’s unsightly, etc, etc. They’ll simply keep pulling from the grid. So, it’s all about turning the grid green.

    2/3 of our fossil-fuels usage is used to support, not transportation, but (you guessed it), to supply energy for the grid. (The remaining third is mostly transportation based). Oh, and by the way, if we had unlimited, renewable grid power, we could easily and cleanly power electric cars, and create hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cell cars via electrolysis (separation of hydrogen and oxygen by applying a strong electric current.) Which would be sweet.

    The answer for unlimited grid power: Geothermal energy plants near oceans. The Cliff Notes version of the process; Find constant, underground heat sources that are above the boiling point of water. (Hot rock, magma chambers, etc.). Circulate pumped-in seawater into the system, and using the resulting steam to produce electricity in a conventional turbine. Even Google is investing millions in Geothermal research.

    Check it out here. http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/20080819_egs.html

    So what’s the catch?

    It’s not quite ready yet. We’re still 30-40 years away from having geothermal infrastructure developed and built, according to expert estimates. But, as we’ve all agreed, we need a solution NOW. So what do we do? Until we’re ready for geothermal, we use an existing, contained, carbon-neutral source of energy to power the grid…Nuclear. That’s right, I said it. It’s not perfect, it’s not forever, and it’s definitely not without some radioactive party favors that come out of the process, but we can have faith that our developments in all areas of technology will keep advancing exponentially to the point where we can do something with the nuclear waste within 50-100 years. Namely, we indefinitely store the spent nuclear fuel safely below a SINGLE sacrificial mountain, like the existing Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, and then when the technology is available we, oh, maybe safely climb it up a space elevator (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator) and gently jettison it towards the sun. Or something. Or we sacrifice Yucca Mountain and put some caution tape around it, which is FAR better than the existing sacrifices with Mountaintop Removal Mining. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountaintop_removal_mining).

    In short (for when you’re explaining this to somebody at a bar or party), Embrace the structure of the grid. Turn the SOURCE of the grid green. Nuclear exists TODAY, and can be used as a band-aid measure, then geothermal as the long-term solution. The result; Unlimited water (desalination), Unlimited power, Unlimited clean transportation (electric and hydrogen.) Done and done.

    Alright, time to climb off the soapbox.

    Comments?

    - Ben Schechter

  7. JMJimmy February 21, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Ummm… isn’t this just copying what Canadian researchers’s have already setup in Chile?

    http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-19581-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

  8. supachupa February 20, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Or, we could plant some trees, which have far more beneficial properties than just collecting water, are cheaper and easier to implement, and look better…
    “On the dry island of Hierro in the Canary Islands, there is a legend of the rain tree: a giant ‘Til’ tree (Ocotea foetens), …the leaves of which condensed the mountain mists and caused water to drip into two large cisterns which were placed beneath. the tree was destroyed in a storm in 1612 a.d. but the site is known, and the remnants of the cistern preserved…[this one tree] distilled sufficient water from the sea mists to meet the needs of all the inhabitants.”

    -David Bramwell

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