An architect pursuing a Ph.D. at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and his colleague have devised a low-tech way to collect dew from the air and turn it into fresh water. Their invention recently won an international competition seeking to make clean, safe water available to millions around the world.
The brainchild of Technion Architecture and Building Planning grad student Joseph Cory and his colleague Eyal Malka, “WatAir,” is an inverted pyramid array of panels that collects dew from the air and turns it into fresh water in almost any climate.
Inspired by the dew-collecting properties of leaves, one 315 sq ft unit can extract a minimum of 48 liters of fresh water from the air each day. Depending on the number of collectors used, an unlimited daily supply of water could be produced even in remote and polluted places.
According to Cory, WatAir can be easily incorporated into both rural and urban landscapes because it has a relatively small base. Its vertical and diagonal design utilizes gravity to increase the collection areas. The panels are flexible and easy to collapse when not in use, and provide shelter from rain and heat and play areas for children.
“WatAir is a wonderfully simple concept which draws its inspiration from nature,” said competition judge Jo da Silva. “This is a simple and effective idea using tried and tested technology.”
The project was selected from 100 entries from North America, Europe, Africa and Asia as the winner of the “drawing water challenge” sponsored by Arup – a global firm of designers, engineers, planners and business consultants specializing in innovative and sustainable design.
Geotectura and Malka Architects, the respective architectural studios of Cory and Malka, are located in Haifax.
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is Israel’s leading science and technology university. Home to the country’s winners of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, it commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in nanotechnology, computer science, biotechnology, water-resource management, architecture, materials engineering, aerospace and medicine. The majority of the founders and managers of Israel’s high-tech companies are alumni. Founded over 60 years ago, the Canadian Technion Society has been one of the university’s most reliable and prolific supporters, having raised upwards of $70 million to date.