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WatAir Dew-Harvesting 'Web' Kit

A dew-harvesting kit designed by two Israeli architects works like a charm - pulling water right out of thin air. The device is a prototype; a ten meter square canopy that gathers dew and channels it to a collector.


(Dew-harvesting kit from Israel)

Joseph Cor and Eyal Malka won a competition earlier this year held by UK engineering firm Arup and charity WaterAid. The purpose of the contest was to bring out new or improved ways of providing clean water to people where it is scarce. (Like maybe Georgia, for instance.)

The two architects were inspired by drops of dew caught in spider's webs in the desert. Their design is similar; a "web" of material in the form of an inverted pyramid that collects dew and channels it to a filtration unit in the center.

Their newly built prototype really works. In just one day, the WatAir device collected twenty liters of water. They are developing a portable version with a Dutch company. They hope to improve the design with better materials in a second prototype.

Science fiction fans readily recognize the value of moisture, not just water. In Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune, savvy natives of the driest planet in the universe used dew collectors to keep plants watered.

"Each bush, each weed you see out there in the erg," she said, "how do you suppose it lives when we leave it? Each is planted most tenderly in its own little pit. The pits are filled with smooth ovals of chromoplastic. Light turns them white. You can see them glistening in the dawn if you look down from a high place. White reflects. But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark. It cools with extreme rapidity. The surface condenses moisture out of the air. That moisture trickles down to keep our plants alive."
(Read more about dew collectors)

The resemblance of the WatAir dew collector to a spider's web is called biomimicry; for another example of how this strategy could lead to more fresh water, take a look at Namib Desert Beetle-based Dune Dew Collectors.

Via Dew-harvesting 'web' conjures water out of thin air.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/15/2007)

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