# The Water Vapor Project

This year’s IIDA has some pretty interesting entries. For example the Water Vapor Project is an attempt to hydrate the parched desert landscape of Africa. It proposes to build an environment where greenery thrives thanks to the basic principles of water vapor.  Hat tip Designboom!

• Eivind says:

This has to be the most confused explanation of basic physics ever.

And what's up with the 1 million RPM ?

Yes, it's possible to extract water from warm humid air by use of a compressor. The mechanism is simple. Use a standard cool-cycle (as found in any fridge in the world!) to create one warm surface, and one cold surface. When warm and moist air hit the cold surface, water will condense, and can be collected for irrigation.

This only works at all when the air is moist, though, and even then, you need a lot of energy, for a fairly low amount of water. In short, there's no way poor farmers will be able to afford it, not even close. The math of it is more like spend a million to extract water, then use that water to grow crops worth a tiny fraction of a million.

Windmills do have a role in providing water to poor regions – typically by powering *pumps*

• Eivind says:

This has to be the most confused explanation of basic physics ever.

And what's up with the 1 million RPM ?

Yes, it's possible to extract water from warm humid air by use of a compressor. The mechanism is simple. Use a standard cool-cycle (as found in any fridge in the world!) to create one warm surface, and one cold surface. When warm and moist air hit the cold surface, water will condense, and can be collected for irrigation.

This only works at all when the air is moist, though, and even then, you need a lot of energy, for a fairly low amount of water. In short, there's no way poor farmers will be able to afford it, not even close. The math of it is more like spend a million to extract water, then use that water to grow crops worth a tiny fraction of a million.

Windmills do have a role in providing water to poor regions – typically by powering *pumps*

• mugabo says:

Climate is not an open system, meaning that you cannot extract things like vapor, temperature, or air velocity without necessarily effecting a change (probably unplanned, mostly unexpected, and likely detrimental) downstream.

• InfantFeast says:

The african lady in the first pic's like WTF is this shit

• InfantFeast says:

The african lady in the first pic's like WTF is this shit

• tweakie says:

There is nothing wrong with dreaming but this is really just a dream. More practical, low cost, low technology, immediate solutions are required in Africa and they are required yesterday.
For years I have donated a regular sum to help those starving in Africa and if anything the situation has become worse rather than better.

• tweakie says:

There is nothing wrong with dreaming but this is really just a dream. More practical, low cost, low technology, immediate solutions are required in Africa and they are required yesterday.
For years I have donated a regular sum to help those starving in Africa and if anything the situation has become worse rather than better.

• Bowmanave says:

well you are really going xtreme

about the compressor I went to a few refrigeration stores and I search with their books, but found nothing

they needed to know the brand name at least

but my educated guess still points toward r-12

question?

are you planning to insulated everything? if so an air tight case would be more suitable

• Bowmanave says:

well you are really going xtreme

about the compressor I went to a few refrigeration stores and I search with their books, but found nothing

they needed to know the brand name at least

but my educated guess still points toward r-12

question?

are you planning to insulated everything? if so an air tight case would be more suitable

• Maurice says:

I think it would be cheaper to airlift freshwater from Europe to Africa than to set up these systems. And of course, I’m not sure that drying the air to wet the ground sounds right either. They need to plant low-water-consuming trees like acacia or eucaliptus, and the trees will jold together the soil. It’s been done before. Africa’s whole problem is caused by deforestation, remember?

• Solaria says:

So, if I understand this, you extract water vapor from the air, condense it, then release it back into the air?? Aren't you then back where you started?

• Solaria says:

So, if I understand this, you extract water vapor from the air, condense it, then release it back into the air?? Aren't you then back where you started?

• james says:

colonialism is what destroys africa's food chain and ecosystem. even if these dew collectors worked, they'd just end up exporting more food away while stilll suffering starvation and destitution, and yes still desrtroying the local ecosystem themselves out of extreme poverty. and since Arid is its default ecosystem in a lot of places, what would changing it do all the life that's acclimated to it? if these hypothetical water vapour collectors are so expensive, would they be a generous gift, or considered an investment for big agribusiness? Socialize the cost of the water harvesters, privatize the profits, while africans continue to starve. for historical precedent, see the green revolution of india. work should start immediately on some sort of anti colonialism windmill. as an added bonus, if you get african governments to make them, who cares what it costs. in fact the more it costs the more some corporation profits. its like the ed 209 principle from robocop. see also: darpa.. those body scanners at airrports, etc

• james says:

colonialism is what destroys africa's food chain and ecosystem. even if these dew collectors worked, they'd just end up exporting more food away while stilll suffering starvation and destitution, and yes still desrtroying the local ecosystem themselves out of extreme poverty. and since Arid is its default ecosystem in a lot of places, what would changing it do all the life that's acclimated to it? if these hypothetical water vapour collectors are so expensive, would they be a generous gift, or considered an investment for big agribusiness? Socialize the cost of the water harvesters, privatize the profits, while africans continue to starve. for historical precedent, see the green revolution of india. work should start immediately on some sort of anti colonialism windmill. as an added bonus, if you get african governments to make them, who cares what it costs. in fact the more it costs the more some corporation profits. its like the ed 209 principle from robocop. see also: darpa.. those body scanners at airrports, etc

• Jhonny says:

If the base of this were buried to (ground temperature constant @ site = 55F) this would be spectacular in producing high amounts of clean water from the air, at least in high temp climates. I would collect the water in underground containers and re-disperse it when needed instead of just pumping it back into the air.
Any loop of material capable of maintaining the ground temp would create the exchange surface, especially when the water is collected because it (the water) could then act as the heat transfer medium keeping the material cooler than the air it is removing the water from… negating the need for any kind of refrigeration pump.
And a battery system charged during the day to run the air exchanger at night would be able to collect more water from higher saturated air in the cooler nights, being that the water vapor during the hotter days would be higher in the atmosphere.

• Jhonny says:

If the base of this were buried to (ground temperature constant @ site = 55F) this would be spectacular in producing high amounts of clean water from the air, at least in high temp climates. I would collect the water in underground containers and re-disperse it when needed instead of just pumping it back into the air.
Any loop of material capable of maintaining the ground temp would create the exchange surface, especially when the water is collected because it (the water) could then act as the heat transfer medium keeping the material cooler than the air it is removing the water from… negating the need for any kind of refrigeration pump.
And a battery system charged during the day to run the air exchanger at night would be able to collect more water from higher saturated air in the cooler nights, being that the water vapor during the hotter days would be higher in the atmosphere.

• So, if I understand this, you extract water vapor from the air, condense it, then release it back into the air?? Aren’t you then back where you started

• Waqas says:

seem good but a large number of this stuff is required to get some noticeable output.the air in desert is already empty with vapors.

• Jimmy C says:

@Eivind: Nicely said. I’m sure this would work to some extent in a wetter area, though.