The founder of Zero Mass Water told me that this kind of early November heat was actually mild for the Arizona desert – and that regardless of the dry climate, he and his team were still able to produce water.
Because that’s what Zero Mass does: harvest drinking water out of thin air, using a combination of materials science, solar power, and predictive data.
The goal is to use this technology to go from a position of “Water scarcity to water abundance,” said founder and chief executive Cody Friesen, regardless of whether you’re in an area where access to clean water is a serious problem, or living in a place where bottled water is often half-drunk and discarded.
At the highest level, Zero Mass “Take[s] sunlight and air and we produce water,” Friesen said, as he showed me the Source panels.
Each panel costs $2000 and produces an average of two to five liters of water per day, Friesen says Then the panel uses sunlight to take the water back out of those materials and produce a process that’s not unlike water forming on grass; basically, when warm air hits a surface colder than itself.
“Each panel has a programmable circuit board that runs an algorithm,” said Mike Robinson, a mechanical engineer at Zero Mass. “And the algorithm is constantly adjusting those set points so that we maximize the amount of water we make. We record that data.so we can teach the panel how to adjust to climate change such that it is always optimizing the water that it makes.”
“Condensing water from moisture in the air, is viable if I was on a desert island, I had lots of money and there was no other source of fresh water and I was going to die,” he said.