Jun 102009
 
Depiction of Windtraps from Frank Herberts Dune Books

Dune Windtraps

Drinking water from air humidity. (Credit: Image courtesy of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft)

Drinking water from air humidity. (Image courtesy of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft)

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

  5 Responses to “Frank Herbert’s “Dune” Becomes Reality.”

Comments (5)
  1.  

    thats pretty cool.

  2.  

    Rock and roll!

    No spice?

  3.  

    Those Germans, can’t beat them…(!)
    I remember seeing a documentry a few years ago about some German engineers who had gone to the andes to bring water to the bowler hatted population. It appeared the moist clouds swept over the top of their mountain but never delivered the rain to them so they had to traipse down the mountain, collect the water and carry it back up.
    So the Germans erected a large closely woven screen with a rainwater gutter along the bottom all along the top of the mountain. Then as the clouds rolled past and through the weave the moisture condensed and dribbled down to the gutter. By the time it all got there there was quite a flow. Into the tanks.
    End of centuries of traipsing.
    Water on tap.
    Pile on the weight, etc etc etc…

    Damn clever, these Germans.

  4.  

    “Tell me about the waters of your homeworld, Usul” I’m sure that Ireland was a match for the Atreides homeworld.

  5.  

    I find the lack of giant sand worms in this post, disturbing.

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