Why did nobody have this idea before?
Clean drinking water can be produced in other ways, for example by purifying existing water sources. But very often, there is no existing source. Seawater desalination is only available in coastal areas. Other technologies can extract water from the air, such as normal air conditioning equipment, but this uses an enormous amount of electricity. Our process to extract water from air using salt already exists in industrial dehumidification systems. Our patent-pending system makes this process very cost-effective by using solar thermal energy and almost no electricity.
The air in hot desert regions is very dry; how can you extract any water from that?
Even hot and very dry air contains at least 7 milliliters of water per cubic meter of air. From that, our process extracts about 1 milliliter per m3. So to get a glas of water, we need to process around 200 m3 of air. With just a slight breeze of wind, this is about the amount of air that flows around your body in just two minutes.
When and where will this be available? Can I go and look at an Aquahara water production plant?
We are going to build a demonstration prototype plant in Morocco or Tunisia by the end of 2018. You are of course welcome to visit and go look for yourself. As soon as the location and timeplan is confirmed, we will publish this here on our website. Probably, this will be near Tataouine, the desert location where some of the Star War movies were produced, easily reached via Djerba airport.
What kind of salt are you using? Is this harmful to the environment?
We use Calcium Chloride, which is the third natural salt component of seawater (next to Sodium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride). In addition, a small portion of other salts are needed, which are also non-toxic but should not be consumed. In any case, the salt stays in a closed-loop process and is not released into the environment.
How much water can you produce?
The energy from the sun is sufficient to produce 3 liters of water per square meter of solar thermal modules per day. Solar modules with an area of just 20 by 20 meters (66 ft. by 66 ft.) can produce 1000 liters (264 gallons) of water every day. So apart from providing drinking water, that is sufficient to irrigate agricultural land with an area of around 30 by 30 meters. Of course, this technology can be scaled to thousands and thousands of square meters.
How much does it cost?
The salt solution is evaporated at a low temperature of around 70-80 °C, which enables us to use very simple and cheap solar thermal modules (basically black plastic tubes). Using series production, we can bring the cost down to 2 EUR per m3 (0,002 EUR per liter) of water. Installing the above mentioned plant that produces 1000 liters of water per day would cost only 12 thousand EUR.
What does Aquahara mean?
Aquahara is a combination of two words: Aqua, the word for water in latin and many other languages, and Sahara, one of the largest deserts in the world.
Who is behind your organization / your corporation?
Aquahara was founded in 2016 by two experienced private entrepreneurs, Dr. Philippe Verplancke, a Belgian engineer living in Germany, and Christian Unterreitmeier, a German computer scientist. We are independent and have no associations with any other organization, neither social, nor political, nor religious.
Please contact us for any further questions!