Harvesting water from the air

Posted on 05 December 2011 by admin

By Joseph Bushby – Winelands Echo*

DURBAN, Dec 5 – (TerraViva) “The atmosphere holds approximately 3.4 quadrillion liters of water in vapour form at any given time,” says Medwyn Jacobs, CEO of N&M Technologies. “We have the patented technology to harvest and condense that vapour into tested, clean, drinkable water.”

N&M Technologies water harvester.

N&M produce devices in a range of sizes, from a small one with an output of just over one litre an hour, to one that can be mounted on a trailer and towed to wherever there is an urgent need for water. Jacobs says that under the right conditions, this trailer-mounted unit can harvest as much as 5,500 liters of pure water in 24 hours.

“The humidity levels have to be 65 percent and the heat temperature 26 degrees Celsius – the ideal for maximum water harvesting.”

All the units are powered by solar energy, making them a potential solution in places where rural women must fetch water far from home for their household, or to water crops and animals. The trailer mounted unit could also be put to use in areas where surface or ground water is contaminated.

When South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, visited the side event on water at the U.N. climate conference in Durban to launch the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, Jacobs was quick to ask for an appointment with her. He is now waiting on her office to get in touch with him.

Medwyn Jacobs and Sukesh Bhandari, N&M Technologies

Medwyn Jacobs and Sukesh Bhandari from N&M Technologies. Credit: Joseph Bushby/TerraViva

SADC’s plan calls for collective action across the region, including research, raising awareness and building up the capacity of communities to respond to changing conditions while alleviating poverty. He argues that the viability of his technology must be explored as part of national and regional water strategies.

Jacobs wants to put up a pilot project with help from the government: he says the demonstration project could be ready within eight weeks. Local government would need to agree and to monitor the project. Jobs would be created in the community by a skills transfer process, with locals trained to look after their own water supply.

* Community media coverage of COP 17 is being supported by the Media Development & Diversity Agency of South Africa, which is promoting the participation of local journalists through a programme of training and reporting on climate change.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Nolan Says:

    Compared to water desalination this option really seems cheaper. The infrastructure cost to set up sea based desalination plants is unaffordable for local municipalities.
    A suggested strategy would be for communities to take part ownership of the
    water harvester and sell the water to municipalities / kilo li for distribution to townships. There are still questions around the water harvester creating how many jobs? This is real forward thinking if you consider how the water harvester makes desalination look ancient.

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