With news stories about countries running out of water or the amount of drinkable water dwindling in the world, it's easy to see how valuable clean water is. Just how valuable is water? Well according to the Value of Water Campaign, the average American uses 176 gallons of water a day (64,240 gallons a year). Of the 70% of water on Earth, only about 2.5% of that water is fresh. The rest of the water is saline and ocean-based, making it unusable for drinking.
While water is a renewable resource, continuously cycled through the water cycle and the same water you are drinking was drank by other animals millions of years ago, our exploding population is creating water shortages. When you add to that the amount of water we use for water-intensive food creation, like meat, dairy or wine, it's easy to see how so many cities run out of water or how water costs become so expensive that many are unable to pay utility companies for water access.
SunToWater is hoping to offer a product that brings an end to the days of relying on utility companies for water delivery or lack of access to fresh drinking water. How? By allowing consumers to "make" their own water! How does it work? Their device works in 3 easy steps.
First air is pulled into the unit using their energy efficient fans- this is the absorption step. Second, water is baked in their device using warm air which allows it to be condensed into purified, clean water- this is the extraction step. Lastly, during the remineralization step, minerals are added back to the purified water. Once this is complete water can be pipped to a consumer's home, garden or water tank.
Your next questions are likely about the quality of the water and whether or not it is tested to ensure it's safe. SunToWater's water meets the WHO's standards for drinking water, even when made from polluted air. The reason it works with polluted air is that their device absorbs water molecules from the air without taking the contaminants.
Their device works when there is low humidity (which would, in theory, make it harder to pull moisture from their air) and can even work in desert climates. In fact, they say that their device is functional in a variety of climates. It can even be used off the grid if you're hiding out from the annoyances of the city or just live far away. Their device uses solar thermal collectors and photovoltaic panels, consuming only 0.51 kWh of power per gallon (much less than traditional humidifiers).
So just how much clean water can their units produce? According to their website, the units can produce up to 20 gallons of water daily. Multiple units can be purchased and used together to provide water for an entire home or business. This would not only mean that consumers no longer have to pay whatever prices their utility company sets but also that those in water insecure regions of the world could have the potential to access water like never before.
The unit can be made to be completely compatible with a consumer's lifestyle, besides producing enough for their home or office, it can also be attached to their pipping in much the same way a water softener is. Once pipped to their home, their tap water will come completely from their device.
Their generators come with a 10-year life warranty and a 10-year manufacturer's warranty. Their generators are even customizable, not only can they be connected to your home or business but they come in different colors. Right now the color available are elegant silver stainless steel but some installation partners may offer colors like white, black, green and camouflage. Great if you're a stickler for your home matching or if you want your home add-ons to be as unobtrusive as possible.
How much do consumers stand to save? Well, according to their site, water would cost just pennies on the gallon with their device. The price depends on the power source used to run their device, however, solar power can be chosen as a source. The cost also depends on the humidity level in the area.
With humidity taken into account, the price would fluctuate from 3.5¢ to 8¢/gallon (using solar power). Solar panels do not come with the device but the device can easily be fitted with them to save even more on the costs to run the fans in the device's filtration system.
Using much of the ideas that go behind traditional humidifiers, SunToWater is giving consumers the power to "make" their own water. This could mean that water-insecure regions across the world gain access to clean water. It could mean that your next water bill is much light or non-existent. It could even mean that areas of the world that don't have clean drinking water can avoid illness and death by water-borne contaminants. The possibilities are endless with a technology so accessible, the next biggest task will be ensuring that the price isn't a barrier for consumers.