Out of the fog: how a startup harvests water from lean air

PHOG Water has developed a netwerken, based on ancient technology, that catches water from fog.

By Michelle Burwell , TruthAtlas July 29, 2014

[This article very first appeared on TruthAtlas.com. TruthAtlas is an online news source featuring multimedia stories about people and ideas making the world a better place. Learn more at www.truthatlas.com.]

With ongoing climate switch and contaminated groundwater causing major rifts te water sustainability, nations are beginning to look into alternative water solutions. One startup, PHOG Water, has prototyped a televisiekanaal, based on ancient technology very first crafted by the Incas, that harvests water from fog.

When Michael, Andrea, and Jeremy told the locals ter Saint Vincent and the Grenadines that they were climbing to the top of the volcano Schuiflade Soufriere, located on the island of Saint Vincent, they were met with incredulity and the idea wasgoed basically dismissed spil crazy. The peak of Schuiflade Soufriere tops off at Four,049 ft. And then they told them they were actually doing it twice ter one week, all for the pursuit of fog.

Michael Thomas, Jeremy Blair, and Andrea Buhler, the team now known spil Phog Water, are on a mission to harvest clean drinking water from skinny air. And spil it turns out, Lade Soufriere has the volmaakt conditions: strong winds, high elevation, and low-lying clouds. Harvesting water from fog requires low-tech nets that essentially capture the water. Suspended water droplets te the air come into voeling with the netwerken, coalesce into larger droplets, and then run into a collection trough. The water can then be collected or piped back into town.

It isn’t a fresh technology. Similar technologies date back to the Incas. But it wasn’t until 1987 that researchers began to look into ways to tweak the technology and make it effective ter different, slightly nuanced environments. FogQuest, a Canadian based charity, paved the way for PHOG Water, and today the charity maintains nets te Morocco, Nepal, Chile, Ethiopia and Guatemala. Still, even despite the fact that the technology is almost self-sustainable and requires very little energy and upfront investment (compared to harvesting ground water), there are still foggy peaks around the world, waiting to be tapped into.

“We’ve developed our own prototype for the netwerk and our own system. The technology is very webpagina specific,” Michael explained. Still, with the prototype, the team can make tweaks to create the most effective nipt te any given location, provided that the basic climate conditions are right.

Michael and Jeremy very first came across cloud-harvesting technology te a Princeton University entrepreneurship class. They created an early version of the PHOG Water business project for their final project, and Andrea would soon join the team. Michael, who wasgoed born ter the Grenadines but grew up te Fresh York, knew instantaneously that the Grenadines would be ideal for harvesting fog water.

So last summer, the team walked up Schuiflade Soufriere, with a hunch and a televisiekanaal, but not much more. When they returned to the webpagina at the end of the week, they had so much water that their troughs were overflowing. They had gathered more water than they’d even anticipated. Michael estimates that one netwerken can produce about 1 million liters (264,000 gallons) of water ter a year.

At the end of August, the team will terugwedstrijd to Schuiflade Soufriere to set up more nets. They are hoping to raise $Ten,000 through their crowd-funding campaign, enough to install and maintain three nets. PHOG Water plans to hire locals to maintain the nets during the year, however they require very little maintenance. “They’re very low energy,” Andrea said. “And each televisiekanaal has a 15-year life span.”

While PHOG Water may still be at the forefront of the technology (drinking water still comes primarily from fresh flows and groundwater), water sustainability is something nations are beginning to take gravely.

“Water’s at the age where people are beginning to think about the future with climate switch and clean water access,” Michael said. With global heating making climates more precarious, regions know they have to start looking for more ways to access clean drinking water and sustain their community.

While the water situation te Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is relatively good, the nation experienced a drought just this year, for the very first time te years. It’s something that may be even more detrimental to water-rich areas since they didn’t have a reason to prepare for an arid season.

PHOG Water has also commenced looking into areas te the United States, setting their glances on northern California.

“After the drought te California, wij realized the technology would help to secure our water, but also secure our agricultural needs, securing our food spil well,” said Michael.

Water is the most essential resource for sustaining human life, and its veritable trickle-down effect can totally convert a community’s entire well-being.

PHOG Water hopes to eventually thrust their technology around the globe. They are on the hunt for foggy peaks, and they they’re soliciting ideas through social media. They want to drive an awareness and inspire others to set up their own nets. Their long-term objective is to create a sustainable, environmentally friendly bottled water brand.

• To help PHOG Water fund a nipt ter Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, visit here.

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