Water from air makes a splash
Michael Bourgon, COO of Drinkable Air, with the Chameleon 8, a machine that makes water from air.
Gone are the days when inhabitants in deserts and remote areas dreamt to draw water from air as an innovative machine makes it possible to produce water from the humidity in the air.
The innovative technology was showcased at the three-day Wetex in Dubai and attracted good potential buyers and investors from Middle East and Africa.
Drinkable Air manufactures and distributes atmospheric water generators (AWGs) that can produce pure drinking water from atmospheric humidity. The company's products are made and assembled in Florida and are validated by the 'Made in the USA' designation.
Michael Bourgon, chief operating officer, Drinkable Air Canada, sees good business prospects in the region and said AWGs perform best in hot and humid conditions and over perform in a climate like the UAE. He claimed that the technology is the performance perfect for the Middle East, but it also offers solution to water shortages and drought.
"The technology does not require a source of ground or sea water in order to produce potable water. We are an alternative to desalination especially in remote communities without access to traditional sources of water," Bourgon told Khaleej Times.
"We are also an eco-friendly alternative. You provide power to the unit (including solar) and it produces water with no negative chemical after affects, water waste, carbon footprint or harmful discharge of brine to the marine environment," he added.
To a question, he said Drinkable Air offers the technology in seven different scalable sizes that can produce 40-15,000 litres of water per day. He said the retail price of smallest unit in this market will be approximately Dh14,000 while the cost for largest unit goes up to Dh1.5 million.
"We certainly have orders coming in every day for our Chameleon 8 model that can produce 40 litres per day. The larger units are also in demand but only available after placing the order.
"We expect to be making some significant announcements in UAE/Dubai in the very near future on some volume purchases," he said, adding that the company is confident of generating Dh14-16 million gross sales in the UAE next year.
To a question, he said Drinkable Air is new to the UAE market as it started business here in late 2015 and witnessed an incredible interest and adoption of the technology.
"With the relationships in motion, I would say 2016 will continue to see placement of various models in volume through the government, corporate and consumer markets we are making inroads into," he said.
About the company's presence in the region, he said Drinkable Air is currently operating in 40 countries and has distributers for the product in Iran, Iraq, Qatar and, of course the UAE and have some strong discussions going on regarding Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as well.
"Since the International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi this past January, we have forged some significant relationships with government, industry and consumers in the UAE bringing water to areas where there are no other solutions and look forward to presenting our technology at this world class event," Bourgon said while referring to the 18th edition of Water, Energy, Technology Exhibition (Wetex), which concluded on Thursday.
To a question how the company derive the idea, he said the concept of drawing water from air has been around for centuries since air wells in the deserts of the Middle East.
"What we are doing is streamlining the process using modern technology and unique purification applications such as the use of ozone. At any given time, there are quadrillions of gallons of water in the air. We are an emerging technology company, based in the US and operational since 2009."
About the key source market, he said the company offers perfect solutions to shortage of water and it has a wide scope of business across the globe.
"Everyone needs water, so, I could say every human being is our market. Our target markets geographically are climates that are hot and humid with needs for alternatives to ground or sea water.
"We are a perfect solution for governments (emergency applications), corporations and consumers [we eliminate the need for 20kg bottles of water] who need a pure potable water resource at costs comparable to bottled water delivery services," Bourgon concluded.