According to the US Geological Survey, more than 99.7% of the Earth’s water is unusable by humans and most other living things, either because it is saline or trapped in glaciers. This leaves a tiny portion of accessible freshwater for humans to use. To add to the pressure, South Africa is a semi-arid region with a mean annual precipitation of 497mm per year, just over half the global average of 860mm per year making it the 30th driest country in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. In addition, research has indicated that total precipitation in the region has declined, and southern Africa’s water resources are likely to decrease further as a result of climate change and rapidly increasing population growth and urbanization The current water crisis in Cape Town is testimony to this with Day Zero still looming for the city into 2019, and water security very much in the balance. Enter Zero Mass Water’s SOURCE Hydropanels: a world-first technology which uses sunlight and air to make safe, pure drinking water.
Powered entirely by solar, SOURCE extracts pure water vapour from the air and converts it into liquid water similar to distilled. This water is mineralised with magnesium and calcium before being delivered directly to a tap. Completely infrastructure-independent, SOURCE makes water without any external electric or water input. This significant advancement in drinking water access is made possible through the combination of thermodynamics, materials science, and controls technology.
Developed by Zero Mass Water founder and CEO Cody Friesen, a materials scientist and associate professor at Arizona State University, SOURCE utilises an ultra-absorbent material that collects water from the air around it in even arid conditions. Producing an average of 3-5 litres of water per panel per day, the Hydropanels are built in arrays designed to meet the drinking water needs of each application. For developers and architects incorporating smart-home technology into their designs and offerings, SOURCE is a differentiating feature of any modern home. Providing drinking water security and quality without any environmental consequence, SOURCE Hydropanels are vital for every resilient home and community.
For the hospitality sector, SOURCE adds value when built into scalable arrays. The SOURCE Hydropanels are modular and can be aggregated to meet the drinking water needs of a hotel, lodge or office building. “With the high-cost and environmental damage of bottled water, hotels and attractions need a better choice for their guests. Our system provides a daily supply of delicious, high-quality drinking water while offsetting the carbon footprint of bottled water.
With renewable water made on-site, SOURCE offers an infrastructure-free and cost-saving alternative to bottled water, without the hassle or logistics of purchasing and delivering it,” says Friesen. With the technology installed for emergency situations, in municipalities that have failing infrastructures, and homes for families looking for a better drinking water choice, the scope of applications for SOURCE Hydropanels in South Africa is seemingly endless, and will certainly go a long way to ensuring water security for all.