Ap Verheggen has spent the last six years working on a way to produce water from sunshine and air. Now his ideas have taken shape in the form of a water fountain on display in The Hague. Using parts that anyone can purchase in a store, the Dutch artist built the 8-meter-tall wood and metal sculpture that uses solar energy to power a dehumidifier that condenses water from humidity in the atmosphere. Verheggen says the sculpture marks an important first step toward realizing the bigger vision to provide water in places where it’s particularly scarce.
Every day, according to UN Water, 6 to 8 million people die as a result of disasters and water-related diseases, numbers that are only expected to rise with climate change. Verheggen told Inhabitat his project is designed to encourage others to devise solutions that can help meet the increasing demand for clean water.
The fountain is an initial proof of concept made with cedar wood on a metal stand; it is accompanied by two 250-watt solar panels and a rechargeable battery pack. The water produced is ejected at intervals from the tip of the sculpture, and the whole installation performs best in sunny conditions.
“The condenser that we bought in a local store produces 2 liter per square meter of solar,” said Verheggen. “Our goal is to produce at least 8 liters solar water in the future.”
Currently part of the Museum of the Sculptures on the Sea, the solar-powered fountain will be on display until October 2, 2016.
“Solar water needs filtration and enriching with minerals when used as drinking water,” the artist writes on his website. “But it proves that with off the shelf technology you can create your own water out of thin air!”