Atmospheric water harvester takes out $1.5m XPrize
Two years ago, XPrize extended its list of pioneering technology competitions with a new contest aimed at the problem of global water security. After revealing the five finalists earlier in the year, the foundation has today announced the grand prize winner, which outshone almost 100 competitors with its superior ability to harvest fresh water from thin air.
The Water Abundance XPrize drew 98 competing teams from 25 countries, who were asked to develop and demonstrate technologies capable of harvesting 2,000 L (528 gal) of water from the atmosphere each day. They needed to be powered entirely by renewable energy, and produce water at a cost of no more than two cents per liter (0.26 gal).
Over the month of September, two finalists were made to fully demonstrate their devices satisfying these requirements, with LA-based Skysource/Skywater Alliance coming up trumps. Its range of deployable machines pull moisture from the air, condense it and then filter it into fresh water, with outputs ranging from 30 gal (113 L) to 300 gal (1,135 L) per day.
The company's website states that it harvests atmospheric water more efficiently than any other method, and we guess it now has the accolades to back up its claims, along with US$1.5 million in prize money.
Coming in second place was Hawaii's JMCC WING, whose solution combines a high torque wind energy system with an atmospheric water harvester as a way of keeping energy requirements, and thereby costs per liter, to a minimum. JMCC WING has received $150,000 for its efforts.