Thanks to technology developed by the Tel Aviv-based company Water-Gen, military troops in some of the toughest field conditions in the world are able to source drinking water out of the air.
Water-Gen’s “Atmospheric Water Generation Units” draw in air and turn it into drinking water. It can create potable water from tiny amounts of moisture like the runoff from air conditioning units. It even purifies water from contaminated fresh water sources, including streams and wells.
This technology not only helps to relieve shortages of drinking water, the units produce sterile water – a necessity wherever medical procedures are being performed.
Water-Gen sells three types of water collection units. The largest is a ground water collector that looks like a home central air conditioning unit. A mobile unit is built for transport by trucks. The smallest portable unit weighs 33 pounds, is designed to be carried and runs on a battery, but its weight is the biggest problem standing in the way of wide-spread use.
The equipment soldiers already carry with them puts at least one hundred pounds on their backs. With one liter of water weighing in at over two pounds, a day’s worth of drinking water means another five to 10 pounds. The ability to turn humidity or any source of water into drinkable water would significantly lighten that load in more ways than one. The company is working on a lighter unit.
Water-Gen was founded by Arye Kohavi, a former special-forces commander in the Israel Defense Forces. He knows what a serious problem access to drinking water is in places where military troops are sent to war or into areas of natural disaster. The water generation units are already in use by the military from countries including Israel, India, the U.K. and the U.S.
Water-Gen has plans to introduce a “Residential Atmospheric Water Generator” later this year. The equipment looks like a water dispenser you’d find at the office or gym. It’s a standalone unit and plugs into any power source. It even runs on batteries. How much water the unit produces will vary based on climate conditions, but it has the capacity to produce 20-40 liters of clean water per day.
Water-Gen’s water generators draw in moisture from the atmosphere, turns it into drinkable water, adds minerals and stores it within a system that keeps out bacteria, algae and viruses. More than three million people die each year from water-borne illnesses. Almost a billion people in places like India, Africa and China don’t have access to potable water from municipal water systems or rely on bottled water for drinking and cooking, but everyone has access to air.
In 2014, Water-Gen received the European Technology Innovation Leadership Award, and
Kohavi, was chosen by Foreign Policy as one of 100 Leading Global Thinkers. Military application or not, Water-Gen’s technology is on its way to becoming one of those “shots heard ‘round the world.”