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Solar-powered water extraction from atmospheric air

By Mary Page Bailey |

A first-of-its-kind pilot project in Abu Dhabi is integrating large-scale atmospheric water generation (AWG) with solar-thermal energy storage to enable carbon-free production of water. Led by partners AQUOVUM LLC (Dover, Del.; www.aqvglobal.com), Masdar Clean Energy (www.masdar.ae) and Khalifa University of Science and Technology (both Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.; www.ku.ac.ae), the project will couple AQUOVUM’s dehumidification-based AWG technology with molten-aluminum, thermal energy-storage technology developed by Azelio AB (Gothenburg, Sweden; www.azelio.com). The project will run for 12 months and is anticipated to produce an average of 10,000 L/d of water using only renewable energy and air. AWG technology employs a cooling-condenser concept wherein warm air is drawn into the system and the air’s moisture condenses onto coils that contain a compressed refrigerant. From there, the water is collected and purified for a variety of potential end uses. “The average air conditioner expends 65% of its energy on cooling and 35% on removing water, but in our dehumidification platform, we’re using 65% of the energy to remove water from the environment and just 35% to cool the coils,” says Robert Wood, AQUOVUM founder and chief technology…
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