Have you ever go to the forest and mountain? Or maybe are you going for a long trip on your bike? If that so, you would already know that it is difficult to take a sufficient amount of water there because it is heavy and limited. So most of us would experience a little water scarcity at those moments.
Moreover, according to FAO in 2012, more than 2 billion people in more than 40 countries live in regions with water scarcity. Another estimation from WWDR in 2012 tells us that in 2030 there would be 47% of the world’s population living in areas of high water stress. Yes, water scarcity is an everlasting issue for the human race.
To solve this problem, since 2000 years ago people harvest water from nature. Water in ocean evaporate, condense, and forming a cloud. The cloud moves to the land through the way of wind. After that, the rain falls (we call it precipitation). Then, the water stored as groundwater and went through someway until they get back to the ocean or evaporating again.
Nowadays, those harvesting method still hold by people in major. But remembering that our 13.000 km3 atmosphere is mostly contained by water, the world challenge us to harvest water from those unexploited water sources.
Answering this challenge, Kristof Retezàr, students from Austria’s University of Applied Arts, last year created a simple device that able to condense humid air into drinking waters. This device-named “Fontus”- is a self-sufficient bottle that able to absorb humid air and separate water molecules from air molecules since they both composed by H2O.
At first, Retezàr simulated different climate condition in his bathroom with variation in temperature and humidity. After achieved a constant drop-flow of one drop condensed water per minute, he designed a compact and some practical parts that would bring this device attached easily to a bicycle.
Fontus have a solar panel that generates the electricity needed to cool the upper chamber of the device, while the bottom chamber heats up. The more you cool the hot side down, the colder upper side will get. As the bike moves forward, the air enters the bottom chamber with high speed. After filtered from the dust, the air will have stopped by little walls to reducing its speed in order to give the air time to lose its water molecules. Then, the water drips into a bottle.
Fontus is a clever style to acquiring freshwater in regions with scarce groundwater but high air humidity. Retezàr claimed that his Fontus could harvest up to half-liter water in one hour’s time in high temperature and humidity values. But Fontus will not work well in the city. Urban air often contaminated and since Fontus did not has any purification system, the water would not fit for daily consumption.
Upgrading Fontus later with purification system sounds an as good idea, as good as increasing the constant drop-flow of condensed water per minute. Or maybe optimizing Fontus to be placed out from bicycle will help people more. However, it is our task to fight against water scarcity issue in the future. Challenges still going on.