Evelyn Lee

WATAIR: Turning Air Into Water

by , 04/16/07

WatAir8, Water Collector, Rainwater, Turning Air Into Water, Moisture Water Collector, WatAir Geotectura, Arup, WaterAid, Joseph Cory, Eyal Malka

With an estimated 5,000 children dying daily due to dirty drinking water, Joseph Cory and Eyal Malka’s award-winning WatAir design for Arup and WaterAid’s drawn water challenge might be the response barren landscapes are looking for. Simply described, WatAir produces water from the air through its inverted pyramid array of panels. Inspired by spiderwebs and the dew-catching properties of leaves, WatAir is easy to incorporate into both rural and urban landscapes due to its relatively small footprint.


Water Collector, Rainwater, Turning Air Into Water, Moisture Water Collector, WatAir Geotectura, Arup, WaterAid, Joseph Cory, Eyal Malka

Arup’s and WaterAid’s drawing water challenge launched in September of 2006 as an ideas competition seeking innovative ways to “help many more people gain access to safe water and effective sanitation.” Over 91 entrants responded from 19 countries across North America, with WatAir taking away the grand prize. Each WatAir unit features 96 square meters of lightweight dew-collecting panels that gravitationally funnel moisture from the air to one collective source. The designers estimate that each unit can collect roughly 48 liters of water in remote places or places that do not have any clean water sources. The panels are flexible, easy to collapse when not in use, and readily available to provide shade and even some shelter.

The low-tech design was conceived by Joseph Cory of Geotectura and Eyal Malka of Malka Architects from Haifa, Israel.


+ Geotectura
+ Arup
+ WaterAid

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


41 Comments

  1. luciasm January 11, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Here are all the necessary information about dehydration
    http://www.europeanhydrationinstitute.org

  2. Areliareedbap November 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    The most amazing toy in 2011 with remote control – flying fish . A giant flying sharks and flying fish clown will delight your friends and children. These toys are very maneuvers and have a remote control .Accidents and collisions for the flying fish is not a problem , they just bounce off prepyadstviya , so they can use at home or office.
    buybesttoys . ru

  3. langemakki May 22, 2011 at 8:17 am

    @martin van Veenendaal, please contact Martijn van Asperen, langemakki appastaart hetemail com

  4. Sean Russ January 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    One way of “extracting” water from air, is through an air compressor. Every air compressor has a filtration system on it to get rid of the moisture before the air continuse through the system. The more you compress air, the more moisture you extract.
    Now since this project is for disaster relief and we are going green, we could use the solar panels to provide electricity, maybe use a windmill as well, because compressors use alot of power doing what they do. Now for non-green methods at a specfic site, use bio-diesel.
    We don’t have to be “Green” when it comes to saving lives in a disastrer area, we just need to save lives and leave being “Green” at home.
    Now, air compressors don’t produce that much water, but the more compressors you have, the more air you move and compress, the more moisture you extract. A different type of filtration system could be used and further clean the moisture before it reaches the holding tank making it drinkable instantly.

    Thats my two cents worth.

  5. kebozarth October 3, 2009 at 6:22 am

    How much and from where can I purchase?

  6. kebozarth October 3, 2009 at 3:57 am

    OK; how much is it and from where do I get it?

  7. polaris April 1, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I keep hearing it… and I’ve been thinking the same thing, surface area is the problem.
    But instead of making it bigger, there is another way to make the surface area greater without increasing its size: make it a fractal!
    If you think about it, your pyramid design would lend itself perfectly for a Sierpinski Triangle type fractal design; but inverted.
    I would take the upside-down pyramid that you have, and then like the S. Triangle, subdivide it into 4 smaller pyramids. Put another upside-down pyramid attached to the first in the middle, so that its corners connect to the midpoints of the sides of the main pyramid. Repeat this process until you end up with a shape that resembles the S. Triangle except that instead of the removed sections, you have more nets there that resemble successively smaller versions of the first. Work would need to be done to determine how many times the process should be repeated. Either the cost exceeds a limit, or a it no longer makes a noticeable increase in performance.

    Since they will all drain into the main pyramid, there is no reason to add more drainage tubing, but there may be a need (for structural reasons) to include more piping to keep the pyramids shape.

    I’d love to see how much it increases the water intake, my bet is you go up by a factor.

  8. Martin van Veenendaal July 9, 2008 at 11:06 am

    I heard that there is a product which collects water from dew and looks like a spiderweb. Probably made of silk. Korean guys were spotted with it but the couldn’t communicate about it. It fits nearly in a small photofilm box. Does anyone know the name, brand or producer of this? Please let me know.

    Martin van Veenendaal, Holland

  9. Komal Madam April 27, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Send information

  10. tibebwa April 20, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I am looking for help in finding a real water catching system for night-time dew and a pretty resident cloud that sits on top of a mountain in Central Ethiopia. We have a project there where there is 600 monks living on top of the mountain and the only water is collected from the roof tops and channeled into communal storage tanks. If there was an inexpensive realistic way of collecting water from nighttime moisture, ( I have seen the drips falling from the trees up there!), please can anyone out there give me some realistic solutions. Everything has to be carried up the 9 kms hike up the mountain, and resources are few and far between, so bearing this in mind maybe someone knows a realistic way of collecting water from the air….. Love, joy and peace, from Ethiopia

  11. Jessica March 20, 2008 at 4:45 am

    we want to buy wateraie, it is very useful for us . please tell us how to get it .thanks!

    Jessica

  12. george dibble February 29, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    not yet – is any one interested in a machine that makes air into water? prototyp is done getting ready to lauch – my phone is 1 574 992 8112

  13. Timothy Nichols February 12, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    WatAir is an amazing and innovative device that has, so far gone massively underutilized. However, the potential it wields is tremendous. It has the capacity to solve the current world wide water crisis due to its uniquely effective nature.

  14. harvey peritt February 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I would like to know if the 48 liters per day was computed or experimentally determined.
    Relationships developed by Nusselt can be used to determine concentration rate.

    Rate of dew collection can be increased by using black or white metallic surfaces that
    face the cold night sky.Amount of condensation is site specific and would depend on daytiime
    temperature and RH as well as sky temperature at night.

  15. Basava January 1, 2008 at 11:57 am

    The problem with these marvellous inventions is if they are not commercially viable they will end up as some college report in some archives of some university for ever and will never become popular.

  16. James hawthorn December 30, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Brilliant ! Bravo Corey and Malka for this invention. Creating water where there is “none”. Fabulous. This know-how must be exploited the maximum and right now.

  17. bernard delbaere October 18, 2007 at 8:14 am

    The idea of “dew catching” is not new.

    As producer of rachel knitted PE monofil cloth, we supplied our cloth for similar purposes.

    Some years ago I heard of projects in Yemen and in Chili.
    Please have a look at http://www.fogquest.org.

    The structures of WATAIR look nice and that is a plus to the end-users.
    They don’t have to start designing, it exists and looks great.

  18. CHARLES MORENO October 16, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    DO YOU FRANCHISE YOUR WATAIR PLEASE REPLY

  19. Aaron Grow October 2, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    As a kid I saw a TV documentary that showed beetles in the Sahara Desert using their own bodies as dew collecters. If a beetle in the Sahara can do it I think we could do it, too.

    Lack of resources should not be a problem, using them efficiently is.

  20. Ana September 26, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Hi, im an industrial designer and i have to say im very interested in the water collector system, however, i’d like to know how does it unfolde. Any information you can give me about that particular item, ill appreciate it. In addition, id like to know in which particular enviroments does it work efficiently. Thanks.

  21. Kezban Dönmez July 25, 2007 at 3:12 am

    Perfect idea.Please send me more information .Thank you!

  22. ephesus July 17, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    it s really attractive,especially nowadays.necessary to learn more about this.

  23. wen qi July 15, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    I want to get the way of contect to the men who have invented watair.
    they are Josephcory and Eyal Malka.
    Please give me their Tel,fax,E-mail .We want to buy the products of watair for getting water.
    Thank you!

  24. jose luis avendano June 28, 2007 at 9:35 am

    sorry for my so poor english language skills. I think you can use the shade of the the water recolectors to water plants even cactus that produce food, pitayas for instance, I am from mexico and those plants give a delicious fruit. and there is a lot of desert vegetation that provide food and dont require too much water

  25. David E. Taylor June 16, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Are there any companies that are manufacturing the WatAir? What are the names?

  26. Angela Flores June 12, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    I would like to know the cost of this pannels, the kind of material, in a 96 m2 area.

  27. Paul van Beers June 12, 2007 at 3:53 am

    It is good that water supply is on the agenda and that new technologies are tried out to improve WatSan (Water & Sanitation) in developing countries.

    The idea to use dew water is off course not new, but the trick is how to use it and where can it be applied, also on the long run.

    More reading on for instance the website >> http://www.FogQuest.org

    Some ideas are more feasible than others. Main problem is always, what we call “upscaling” or, how can good ideas be used by the millions that need it.

    It is our experience, that only ideas that can create an income for some people, are feasible in the end.

    To get wider attention in the WatSan sector for this idea, i would advise to make an info page about this idea on our website >> http://www.watsan.org

    Paul van Beers
    WatSan Consult
    Amsterdam
    The Netherlands

    Website >> http://www.handpump.org

    Website >> http://www.WatSan.org

  28. Larry Bell June 11, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Wonderful words and images! But does this get translated into practical, hands-on reality? Do we have simple designs and findable materials from which to make these ourselves? How about the ability of “kits”?
    Thank you.
    Larry Bell
    North East Arizona Energy Services Company

  29. Phil Brooks June 6, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    This particular method for capturing water from the air has been around for decades, it is taught in survival schools, and to sailors at sea. This is no great new invention. What I’d like to see is actual installations, rather than computer renditions, and actual data on how they perform. An idea is easy, making it happen is the issue. Seems like the slightest wind will blow these things away. Also, if you do get around to actually building any of these, I suggest you don’t put them under any trees. I’d really rather not have bird droppings mixed with my pure water. Solar stills, which have existed for decades, may be a better way to go for purifying poluted water, or extracting water from the ocean.

  30. Doug Lucchetti June 6, 2007 at 8:09 am

    Subbarao Seethamsetty, whose comment above, recognizng that he’s never lived in an arid environment questions whether a desert environmnet could routinely sink below the dew point. It can and does almost everywhere arid conditions exist. The reason for this is because arid regions are typically cloud free and at night the heat of the day quickly radiates into the blackness of the night sky. In fact, a common characteristic of many arid regions is the contrast between the intense solar exposure of day where things can heat up and the descent into cool temperatures…sometime so quickly that rocks will fracture due to thermal shock.

    My compliments to the designers of this product and to the others which are found in their design portfolio. It is an old trick I’ve used a few times but having its features maximized brings a world on potential to its capabilities. Thank you for your contribution to eradicating the idea that it is because of shortages that we suffer. If it is a shortage, it is a shortage of imagination.

  31. Joe June 5, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Subbarao Seethamsetty, The question is not one of abundance of water, but of clean, potable water. Direct from the air rather than from, say, the Ganges river, the water would be as clean as the collectors and container. There are many similarly wet places that would benefit immensly from this one easy tech.
    Does this mean that the Boy Scouts can save the world by invading third world countries? Yech. That would be a real dystopia.

  32. Clay Claiborne June 4, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Fantastic Idea. There is much need for this NOW. ASAP In this world.

  33. David June 3, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    AirVsWater – I think you understand that these devices don’t actually turn air into water, but rather extracts the water vapour from it? Thus; no air shortage for you or anyone else.

  34. Joshua Doolittle May 12, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Wemer,
    Please review our website describing the humble origins of a new species of bamboo architecture that will provide a sustainable rebuilding system for post-natural disasters in regions with locally accessible bamboo.

    Our goal is to transform bamboo from “the poor man/woman’s building material” to “the globally conscious building material of choice.”

    More info at:

    http://chi-bagoda.com/

    Updated/ more detailed drawings available upon request. Conact info at our site.

    We’d lvoe to collaborate with your Sri Lankan rebuilding efforts. However, we’re big in vision, but low on funds.

    Sincerely,

    Joshua Doolittle

  35. AirVsWater April 23, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Now we will run out of air instead of water.

    Worse, I’d say.

    Bottom line: there are not enough natural resources to sustain everyone on this planet.

  36. RAUL GARZA April 17, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    WATER IS THE FUTURE CHALLENGE OF THE WORLD. THE IDEA IS FEASIBLE BUT I THINK IS NOT MEANT FOR A LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE, I SAW A FEW MONTHS AGO, A PRODUCT ALLREADY IN THE MARQUET, OR GOING TO BE SOON AVAILABLE. IT IS A SIMPLE–STRAW– LARGE WITH SOME INSIDE NATERIAL, THAT RENDERS THE WATER AS IT PASSES THRU THE STRAW CLEAN, FREE OF ORGANIC AND INORGANIC ELEMENTS, IS IS FOR A CONSUMSION OF 3 TO 4 LITERS A DAY, AND LAST FOR MONTHS. PERHAPS BOTH IDEAS CAN BE OF GREAT USE IN LARGE COMMUNITIES HELPING PEOPLE TO MITIGATE THEIR NEEDS OF DRINKABLE WATER AT A MINIMUN COST.

  37. Subbarao Seethamsetty April 17, 2007 at 9:02 am

    Christopher, The key phrase in your write up is “… hitting the dew point” and the associated “If” statements – “.. If there is enough water in the air” and “.. “surface area”. In all the above, the only thing that we can control appears to be the surface area.

    Having never lived in arid or desert climates, I have trouble undestanding if this works in those climates. My general take is if the climate allows for dew point to be reached, then there is porbably not as severe a water problem as to justify this enormous investment for water “litres at a time”.

    But an extension of this watair is if the panels themselves are PV panels providing (1) shade for people below, (2) generating electriccity during the day and (3) collecting water during the night, the cost may become justified.

    Bucky Fuller evisaged that providing shade in hot places to the community in general with large geodesic roofs will increase productvity. I know for a fact that mindless hot climate saps your strength and motivation to do anything useful other than just talk about how hot it is.

  38. Ro April 17, 2007 at 4:28 am

    Like Christopher mentions, boyscouts learn this.

    Wouldn’t it be logical to use such a construction as a roof for housing? that way you can gather both dew AND rain.
    And you can collect it all inside the house for direct use (or after some filtering).

    Seems like a win-win situation to me. :)

  39. Christopher April 16, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    This “low tech design” has been in use by humans forever. I first learned about it 20 years ago when I was in the boy scouts by inverting the rain-fly on my tent. It’s simply surface area with a run-off. It does work, and if it’s all you can muster then it might help you stay alive, but there’s no possible way it could sustain high volumes of people unless you start talking about covering kilometers worth of land with these.

    Werner, you can do this with anything. It’s an extremely simple concept. IF you have enough water in the air, then it will collect on things when you hit the dewpoint. If those things on which it collect just happen to allow gravity to pull the water down, then it will flow down in to your collector of choice. The trick is that you have to collect enough dew for the droplets to roll in to each other and amass enough volume for gravity to break the droplets free – before they evaporate from your surface.

    To test this, go jam 3 sticks in the ground in the shape of a triangle. Affix the plastic to the sticks and place a stone in the middle of the plastic so that it pulls the plastic downward. Check the bag in the morning before the sun heats anything up; you should see a little pool of water at the bottom of the bag. Once you’ve acquired water with this small test, it’s then just a matter of scale to generate the amount of water that you want. The more surface area, the more you will collect.

  40. Nick Leaney April 16, 2007 at 8:02 am

    There was a similar design posted on the web a couple of years ago called FogQuest by a Candian not for profit, which collected dew and fog using a spiders web as inspiration

  41. Werner Gronwald April 16, 2007 at 5:29 am

    Dear Sirs,

    I am curious about more technical information about that project. Are those devices allready available or at which status is that development. I am an German architect who is since ten years involved in post desaster assignments all over the world. This is a great idea. Please send me more information. In the moment I am in Sri Lanka for Post Tsunami reconstruction projects as consultant for big international relief organizations.

    Regards, Werner Gronwald

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
What are you looking for? (Solar, HVAC, etc.)
Where are you located?