Harvest the haar?

Thursday 16th February 2017
Fog or haar - Scots familiar

A partnership between Morocco’s Dar Si Hmad non-profit and Germany’s  Water Foundation and Aqualonis, the award-winning CloudFisher water gathering project is now being expanded to help other communities. Located on Mount Boutmezguida in the pre-Saharan Atlas Mountains, CloudFisher nets gather water from the frequent heavy fogs and funnel it into storage tanks and pipelines that provide clean drinking water directly to homes.

The current iteration of the nets and structures have been years in the making and are able to withstand winds of up to 120 miles per hour. The project has been particularly successful in helping the women and children of the region save time (multiple hours per day used to be spent gathering water) and preserve local cultures. Droughts have been increasing in recent years, forcing many of the subsistence farmers to sell their cattle and move elsewhere. As a result, the local language and culture were in decline. Now, the CloudFisher project has proved to be so successful it is expanding into some13 villages on the mountain and has created both an observatory and a school.

Water scarcity is becoming increasingly disruptive, as communities and families fracture in the fight to survive. Hardworking solutions are necessary to make the most of extremely limited resources. Architects have found a way to gather minute amounts of rain for cooking and cleaning that also uses the water to cool homes. And a new solar panel design gathers moisture and transforms it into drinking water available directly from an integrated tap.

A solar panel on your roof could soon capture drinkable water for your faucet. Called Source, this solar panel system developed by Zero Mass Water, a startup with a mission to “democratize drinking water,” turns water vapor in the air into clean, drinkable water.

The water-gathering panel is made of a material created by Zero Mass Water that passively absorbs moisture in the air. In an interview with Business Insider, Cody Friesen (left), the company’s CEO, compares their technology to grains of rice placed inside salt shakers. Water binds more strongly to the rice grains than the salt, which prevents the salt from getting damp and clumpy. Material in a Source device absorbs water similarily, the solar panels harvest the energy required then to evaporate the water and purify it. The water is runs through a mineral block to both improve taste and increase nutritional value.

Friesen reports that, on average, one Source device produces 5 liters of water per day, which can then be stored in a metal compartment capable of holding up to 30 liters. Currently, a family of four would be about 3 liters short of having enough drinking water if everyone followed the 8-glasses-per-day rule, but the device could fill a vital need for drinking water in rescue camps and makeshift communities.



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