Now, you can make drinking water from air in the UAE

Abu Dhabi - Technology extracts humidity from air and turns it into high-quality drinking water.

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By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 5:46 PM

Last updated: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 5:47 PM

We can all feel and breathe in air — and now, an Abu Dhabi firm has made it possible for people to drink it, too.

Thanks to advanced technology, the company Eshara Water is able to manufacture a type of generators that can produce ‘pure drinking water’ from air.

“There are 37 million billion litres of freshwater in the atmosphere stored as humidity. There’s water stored as humidity in the atmosphere than we could ever need. We have a technology that extracts humidity from air and turns it into really high-quality drinking water. This is the first of its kind in the country,” Ed Aitken, global operations director of Eshara Water UAE, told Khaleej Times.

Though the technology has been around in the other parts of the world, this is the first time that a homegrown UAE company — based at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi — is manufacturing the generators.

The ‘Made in Abu Dhabi’ machine requires just electrical supply to work. Explaining the technology, Aitken said: “It monitors and judges the relative humidity within the air and judges the temperature of the air. Then, it calculates how much it needs to change the temperature of that air in order for it to reach its dew point, i.e., the moment when the air is about to release all of its water.”

The air passes through a filtration system to remove dust and particulates, it is then condensed into water before being passed through a mineralisation chamber. Finally, the water is treated with ultraviolet light to ensure its purity. And when the water reaches premium quality, it is chilled and ready for consumption.

“It has never touched heavy metals on the ground or flown through pipe networks. It is so pure that it doesn’t have any taste whatsoever. For health and taste benefits, we run it across our mineralisation chamber, i.e., essentially natural rocks and minerals and salts that mimic as if this water had flown through natural aquifers and come out of mountain spring. The water is made at the point of consumption, incredibly pure, fresh, chilled and healthy.”

He noted that around 26 billion plastic bottles are made every year and a single bottle has the potential to cause significant problems if disposed of in the wrong place, such as the sea.

“The damage to marine life and the environment can be devastating, especially when it takes a single plastic bottle 450 to 1,000 years to completely degrade. Seventeen million barrels of oil are used to make plastic bottles every year.”

Aitken said the innovative solution supports the UAE’s and the UN’s sustainability goals by ending the use of single-use plastics.

“This means huge CO2 savings and no single-use plastics. According to our projections and deployment of our machines, we are on track with our clients to collectively save over 17 million tonnes of CO2 and more than 166 million plastic bottles by the end of 2022, just by using our atmospheric water generator.”

Aitken noted the product is six times cheaper than bottled water. “This machine here is producing a litre of water for about 25 fils. It is very good value compared to bottled water.”

The company is manufacturing three machines: A five-litre water generator for households and hotel rooms, 30-litre and 1,000-litre. “Our 30-litre machine doesn’t consume more than a single air-conditioning unit. All the machines generate water every 24 hours.”

And there is a digital display showing the water capacity and consumption. “We are also working on making it work on solar power.”

Ed Aitken, Eshara Water Global Operations Director, with the machine that produces drinking water from air. KT Photo: Ryan Lim
Ed Aitken, Eshara Water Global Operations Director, with the machine that produces drinking water from air. KT Photo: Ryan Lim

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