If you’re alarmed by reports of dwindling water supplies across the globe, there has never been a better time to take matters into your own hands. SunGlacier founder Ap Verheggen, who has spent the better part of the last decade designing devices that harness the sun’s potential to extract water from air, has made his latest design available online – for free. The solar-powered DC03 relies on a Peltier element, explained in greater detail below the jump, to produce a small amount of clean water each day. The device comes without a battery, without fans or an inverter, and without any moving parts that could easily degrade.
The solar-powered DC03 generates power for an 18W Peltier element. Asked to explain that in layman’s terms, Ap Verheggen told Inhabitat: “A Peltier element is a very small and thin square piece of electronics. If you connect it to electricity, it becomes hot at one side, and cold at the other side. The cold side we use to cool a cone. As the air comes at the cool cone, moisture in the air starts to condensate and produces water drops.”
Water drawn from the air then drips, through gravity, into a glass (or whatever vessel each person chooses to use). Because the Peltier element has a temperature difference of 67C maximum between the upper “hot” side and the under “cool” side, according to SunGlacier, the hotter the air, the more water the device produces, bringing the group one step closer to their original ambition of improving water security for people living in desert conditions.
Related: A solar-powered leaf that makes ice in the desert
At the moment, the device makes about half-a-glass of water every six hours, according to SunGlacier. It is designed to operate during daylight hours only, mitigating the need for a battery.
Verheggen says while the DC03 has been thoroughly tested, it has not been optimized, which is where you come in. In the same spirit as Elon Musk’s approach to the Hyperloop, whereby he encourages anyone to improve upon the original idea, SunGlacier invites the public to take a stab at making their own solar-powered water maker using their design, which is available online.
Universities and research institutes from as far afield as Iran, Romania, South-Africa and The Netherlands have already expressed an interest in getting involved, Verheggen says. This collaborative approach is expected to make SunGlacier’s groundbreaking, low-maintenance design accessible to the greatest number of people possible – and that is something we can get behind.
Photos by Hessel Waalewijn