“Cloud Generator” Invention Creates Drinking Water Out of Thin Air

Device sucks moisture out of the air to create clean water anywhere in the world, even in the desert.

A couple of American architects have repurposed a shipping container into a machine that can extract water out of thin air.

Using a cloud generator to make water and biomass gasifier for electricity, one shipping container can pull enough moisture out of the air to produce 300 gallons of water per day, enough to meet the daily water needs of 100 people.

The innovation won a $1.5 million prize in a competition to come up with a device that could make at least 2,000 liters of water per day, at a cost of less than 2 cents per liter.

Architects David Hertz and Rich Groden’s device, known as Skywater, lived up to the challenge.

The machine is made of two basic components:

One is a generator that cools warm air, creating a cloud of condensation, similar to the way a natural cloud is formed.  The condensed water is stored inside of a tank, which can be accessed via a tap outside the shipping container.

The second piece is a low-cost biomass gasifier to provide electricity for the generator. Anything from food scraps to coconut shells can be vaporized in a natural process involving heat, steam and oxygen that converts the biomass into hydrogen without combustion.

All that remains of the biomass is charcoal, which then can be used as carbon-rich plant-food for your garden.

“I think the future of technologies is going to be moving to this restorative, regenerative model that actually helps to repair the damage we’ve done,” said Hertz.

Skywater can be used in any climate, in any part of the world – a real-life Rainmaker of sorts.

It can be powered by biomass, solar or battery.

“One could imagine these shipping containers being positioned in a state of readiness throughout the world to be able to respond to disasters for both energy and water,” said Hertz.

Hertz and his team plan on using the prize money develop more machines and to work with nonprofits to disperse them around the world.