A Vancouver company wants people to consider getting cheap, potable water from a widely available source: air.
Splash Water For Life has created two atmospheric water generators: one for industrial use and one for home use.
The residential water generator looks like your typical water cooler, except there is no big blue bottle on top and it’s not connected to the building’s water supply.
“The air goes into an air filter at the bottom of the machine and the water gets sucked out of it [through condensation],” the company’s Elliot Mashford told a group of curious residents at Errington Hall on Monday. “Water then gets pumped through five filters, including UV filtration.”
Air quality has no effect on the generated water quality, thanks to the many filters.
Mashford and Splash Water’s Karson Hutchinson were in Errington at the invitation of Arrowsmith Water Management owner Larry Crawford, who said he was blown away by the technology.
“It’s going to be very important technology,” he said.
Mashford and Hutchinson call it “disruptive technology” because it can stop people from relying on bottled water.
The residential water generator can produce up to eight gallons of water per day. The water is recirculated throughout the day to keep it fresh.
The generator runs on both electricity and diesel fuel at a cost of between 3-8 cents per gallon.
The industrial model can produce up to 11,365 litres of water per day.
Splash Water For Life executive vice-president and inventor Phil Fraser came up with the idea during a board meeting a decade ago.
“He saw somebody dump the water from a dehumidifier in the room and thought there should be a way to use that water,” Hutchinson said.
Fraser raised $5 million in financing over 10 years while he worked on successive models. After putting together the 18th model he felt confident enough to go to market.
The residential model is priced at about $1,000, while the industrial model’s price varies according to specifications. The filters need to be changed every year or so at a cost of less than $200.
The only catch is the water generator can only be used in regions where the relative humidity is between 40 per cent and 100 per cent.
“Eighty per cent of the world’s population lives in regions where the machine could work all year,” Mashford said.
On Vancouver Island, he said, the relative humidity rarely drops below 80 per cent.
The machine’s only byproducts are warm and cool air, which can be used to regulate the temperature of a room.
“At our North Vancouver showroom, we used it to control the temperature in our showroom,” Mashford said.
Atmospheric water harvesting has next to no effect on the environment, he said. If every home on Earth used the water generator, it would cause only an estimated 0.0002 per cent drop in water vapor levels in the atmosphere.
The company started selling the generators about 10 months ago. One of the machines is part of a permanent display at the Telus World of Science in Vancouver.
For more information, see http://www.splashwaterforlife.com.