Anyone who has read Frank Herberts “Dune” series will remember the underground Sietch villages which formed the basis of desert survival for the inhabitants of the harsh planet Arrakis. These sietches were able to survive using Windtraps which collected water vapour from the desert air and collected it into basins underground in the sietches. This process eventually generated enough water to facilitate terraforming of the harsh desert planet.
Science Daily reported this week about a new technology created by the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart working in conjunction with their colleagues from the company Logos Innovationen. They have found a way of converting air humidity into drinkable water. It will create a method of getting potable water from the air in desert regions much like the Windtrap.
Based exclusively on solar cells, the system will not need connection to power networks. It relies on the fact that water boils at a much lower temperature when air pressure is low, a phenomenon well known to mountain climbers and people living in high altitude regions. Using this fact and a combination of brine solutions and vacuums created by solar collectors , water is sucked out of the air a few metres above ground level and allowed to condense, diluting the brine solution which then falls back down the tubes creating the vacuum needed again, removing the need for a vacuum pump.
This is not just geeks chasing a dream created in an SF Book. Working models of various parts of the concept have already been built and plans for full scale working prototypes are in place. It is not known whether there are any current plans for Stillsuit production but if they start, I want one.
More on this technology HERE