Solar energy technology is now being used for a unique new purpose: to create drinking water by harvesting it out of the air.
Zero Mass Water harnesses energy through solar panels to produce clean water, even in dry climates.
The panels cost $2,000 each and are capable of producing an average of 2 to 5 liters of water, or more than 12 16-ounce bottles, a day.
They can be installed for $500. The panels have three components: a typical solar panel, plus a material that generates heat and a material that absorbs moisture from the air.
“So in the same way that when you leave the lid off a sugar bowl the sugar bowl gets a little clumpy, that’s because that sugar likes the water in the air. Our materials do exactly that,” Friesen told The Verge.
The company hopes that the panels will reduce the use of bottled water, and a third party will conduct a study to determine bottled-water use after they’re up and running.
Zero Mass was also able to help out with a water shortage after the hurricane in Puerto Rico, as well as provide water for a girls’ orphanage for Syrian war refugees in Lebanon.