A new kind of solar panel, called Source from Zero Mass, can turn the air's moisture into clean drinking water reports Fast Company's Adele Peters.
Here's how the technology works, as described by Peters:
The startup created a material that passively absorbs water from the air. It's a hyper-efficient, fast version of what happens if you leave a bowl of sugar open and it starts to clump from moisture. Then the solar panel powers a process that drives the water back out. The water is evaporated to purify it, removing pollutants. After the water is purified, it's run through a mineral block to add calcium and magnesium and improve the taste. The result is water that can help eliminate disease. Having water at home also saves time; women in sub-Saharan Africa spend an estimated 40 billion hours a year collecting water.
Cody Friesen, CEO of Zero Mass, says that single panel can provide drinking and cooking water for a family of four, and businesses or hospitals can scale up with multiple panels. There are currently pilot programs for the panels running in Ecuador, Jordan, Mexico, and the U.S.