Smart Billboard Produces 100 Liters of Drinking Water a Day Out of Thin Air

Researchers in Peru have teamed up with an ad agency to provide a viable solution to the problem of potable water shortage in Lima, the world’s second-largest city in the world. Their  creation is a s simple as it is ingenious – a billboard that turns air humidity into drinking water.

Located northern edge of the Atacama, the driest desert in the world, the city of Lima and its surrounding villages get around 0.51 inches of precipitation per year. For a long time, the capital city has relied on drainage from the Andes mountains and runoff from melted glaciers for its potable water needs, but due to climate change, the water supply from both sources is on the decline. Out of the 8.5 million people living in Lima, 1.2 million lack running water completely and have to either draw water from wells, which is known to be polluted, or rely on unregulated private-company water trucks, which charge u to 20 time the normal price of tap water. Aware of this dire problem, Lima’s University of Engineering and Technology started looking for a way to solve the problem and, at the same time, draw the attention of applicants for 2013. Inspired by the fact that the city’s average air humidity is about 83%, due to its location along the Southern Pacific Ocean, UTEC partnered with advertising agency Mayo DraftFCB to create an eye-catching billboard that produces water out of thin air.


Photo: Mayo DraftUCB/ UTEC

The world’s first billboard that generates water from air humidity consists of five primary devices that make up a reverse osmosis system. It captures the humid air, runs it through an air filter into the condenser, to create water, which then passes through a carbon filter into one a central holding tank. All passers-by have to do is turn on the faucet at the base of the billboard and they’ll be rewarded with cool drinking water. According to the promotional video released by Mayo, this ingenious device is capable of producing up to 100 liters of potable water a day, and in the three months since it was installed, it has already supplied Lima’s inhabitants with 9,450 liters. Apart from the basic function of delivering drinking water in a harsh environment, the unique billboard designed to also inspire young Peruvians to study engineering at UTEC. “We wanted future students to see how engineers can also solve social needs in daily basis kinds of situations,” said Alejandro Aponte, creative director at Mayo DraftFCB.


Photo: Mayo DraftUCB/ UTEC

For now, there’s just one of these billboards installed at kilometer marker 89.5, on the Pan-American Highway, but imagine what dozens of them would mean for the people of Lima. Imagine how invaluable solutions like these are in so many troubled places around the world…


via Time Techland

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