This promising new technology works in a similar way to solar power but, instead of generating electricity, generates water and could revolutionize the water generation industry. The start-up behind the technology, Zero Mass Water, is attracting attention from investors like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos or Michael Bloomberg, but is the technology efficient enough to be economically profitable?
Atmospheric water generation technology
This technology basically creates water out of thin air. How does it work? When the sun is shining over the ocean, water evaporates and then rains down again on an average 6-day nature cycle.
The technology is based on hygroscopic principles – when the moisture is absorbed from the air by hygroscopic absorbing material and solar energy. This technology can be implemented the same way as solar panels – you can deploy it from anywhere, from buildings’ roofs, industrial places or deserts.
An Arizona based start-up Zero Mass Water created Hydropanels with a similar design as solar panels.
Solar power has been used to generate electricity for a while now, through solar panels, but now it has become the inspiration for Zero Mass Water’s startup water generation technology.
The sun now represents multiple renewable resources, not just for electricity, but for water too.
The water that it collects through condensation is clear and drinkable, and the system should generate 3-5 litres of drinkable water per day, for an operating life of 15 years.
The Hydropanels’s technology to generate water, even in a desert environment, is one of the strongest aspects as to why the start-up has attracted the attention of so many big investors.
Investors’ attention towards the Hydropanels
In June the start-up raised an investment value of $50M from investors like Bill Gates, backed through Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Material Impact Fund.
In total, the start-up raised funds of more than $100 million and has been backed by further big investors like Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson.
“The interest from investors is not surprising. Water is becoming a more and more important source for humankind. In the future it could become a more expensive resource than fossil fuels or metals,” said Václav Gregor, CEO of Soulmates Ventures.
In the future the world’s population is estimated to grow to 10 billion people, meaning the demand for drinkable, clean water will increase too. Humanity will need more of everything; more food, more clothes and more houses, which require – more water.
And we should not forget about current developing countries either. Today, approximately 844 million people don’t have access to clear water. That is one out of every nine humans. Right now there are wars happening over water sources that result in many deaths.
Zero Mass Water Hydropanels require no infrastructure upgrades; you can easily build your solar panels on the south side of the roof and the Hydropanels on the east side of the roof. And just like that, your home or office will become self-dependent in terms of both water and energy.
Developing countries are in particular need of integrating green and clean technologies into their development process, as soon as possible. Depending on project, many good funding opportunities already exist in unexplored markets which focus on economical, environmental and social benefits for all sides. For these purposes, we have to find and innovate the right technologies and innovations.
The efficiency of water generating technology
In May, Global Water Intelligence (GWI) released a report about the Zero Mass Water Hydropanels. It was described as an “incredibly inefficient means of making water.”
Meanwhile, the company has already started selling its Source Hydropanels, deploying them in schools, homes and other facilities across 45 countries.
Further business opportunities that the start-up sees is in water purchase agreement – offering customers the opportunity to buy the water output of plants, instead of the plants themselves. This system has proved successful in the energy power industry, could it be the future of water power too?
An important point to note is that Zero Mass Water has survived the major dude diligence process. For now it seems that investors believe that start-ups are capable of making the technology more efficient to secure economical profitability and future development.
Photo: Zero Mass Water