Visionary, inventor, and climate artist Ap Verheggen, famous for his “SunGlacier” concept (a solar-powered leaf that produces water in the desert) is still on cutting-edge of solar thought with he’s latest solar-powered handheld concept – the WaterDrop.
The conceptual design, a handheld solar-powered device that allows people to collect solar heat during the day and use it to cool the air inside the mechanism, ventilating and creating water droplets.
The WaterDrop concept is currently science fiction, but as Verheggen rightly points out solar technology has taken huge strides in recent years, so it’s worth giving it a closer look.
“If temperatures rise, the air contains more water,” Verheggen says on his blog. “Normally, higher temperatures also mean more sunshine. So, why not focus on harvesting water out of the air, powered only by renewable solar energy? In this way drinking water and water for agriculture become available in most dry parts of the planet.”
That’s the thinking behind the solar-powered handheld and Verheggen’s various other solar-powered concepts. Photovoltaic modules on the outside of the device would absorb solar energy during the daytime. This energy would then be used to cool the air to produce condensation and power a fan to create airflow. In theory, resulting water drops could be collected in a small cistern. Verheggen recommends incorporating small rocks into the design to add much-needed minerals, while the spout is a built-in replaceable carbon water filter.
“I know it is still science-fiction,” says Verheggen, “but for sure PV cells increase in efficiency, (only a matter of time) next to the speeding development of materials that store the cold of the night to help pre-cool the inlet-air during [the] daytime.”
According to the World Resource Institute solutions such as Verheggen’s WaterDrop concepts will need to see the light of day. It is projected by 2040, 33 countries are expected to face extreme water stress.
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