Whisson Windmills To Water Australia Like Vaporators?
Dr. Max Whisson thinks he has a way to bring water to Australia's parched land - windmills that pull water out of the air.
Water is a big problem for Australia. Queensland State's governor Peter Beattie has announced that falling dam levels have left him no choice but to introduce recycled water into the state's southeast. Australian farms and cities are suffering under the worst drought in a century.
Whisson's design consists of a number of blades arranged vertically, accepting wind from any direction. The process is a closely guarded secret, but the device manages to cool the air as it passes - pulling water out by condensation.
Frankly, I'm skeptical of a story that has so little substance to it. However, Whisson does have a history as an inventor; he suggested the idea of long evaporation channels in 2002. The basic idea is that seawater would be channeled inland under a transparent cover. As the water evaporated, it could be diverted to storage tanks. The channels would be U-shaped, letting the remaining water (and salt) flow back into the sea.
Update 01-Feb-2007: Here's a bit more from ABC Canberra, who quotes Whisson as saying:
"Well it's an idea that gradually evolved, I suppose over the last three-years or so. The windmill is part of the system, but essentially it's an arrangement whereby wind blows into a chamber and the wind has two things: it has energy and it has water in it and the system just condenses the water."
I also had a comment from Matt, who remarked on the Hilsch vortex tube method of refrigeration; as far as I know, it requires pressurized air to work, and I'm not sure if a ten mile per hour breeze could provide the necessary pressure. End
If Max Whisson really does have a windmill that pulls water right out of the air without additional electricity, he may just have invented the moisture vaporator. Widely used in the deserts of the fictional world of Tatooine, it makes farming work where it would ordinarily fail.
Despite the glare, life could and did exist in the flatlands formed by long-evaporated sea beds. One thing made it possible: the reintroduction of water.
For human purposes, however, the water of Tatooine was only marginally accessible. The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance. It had to be coaxed down out of the hard blue sky -- coaxed, forced, yanked down to the parched surface...
(Read more about Star Wars vaporators)
Since pictures of Max Whisson's windmill evaporator are not available, I'll provide a picture of the fictional vaporator. Let's hope Whisson's vaporator isn't just fiction.
(Moisture Vaporator from Star Wars)
Frank Herbert's Dune books also introduce water recovery technologies; some of them have real-world analogues:
Update 30-Jan-2007: This has to be a record for fastest time to update an article. Okay, I considered using the windtrap from Frank Herbert's Dune for this article. It does predate the Star Wars reference (Dune was published in 1965 [serialized in Analog starting in 1963]). However, the windtrap is apparently a static device very similar to simple technologies already common in the Middle East for centuries (see the references provided by readers, as well as a picture of an Iranian windtrap, in the comments on Herbert's windtraps). Maybe I'm wrong to reference the vaporator here. Chime in below if so moved. End update
Read almost nothing more at The Australian; here's the Australia Queensland recycled water story. This pdf gives you a bit more on Max Whisson's 2002 water recovery plan.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/30/2007)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion (Back On) ( 8 )
Related News Stories -
Swiss HCPVT Giant Photovoltaic 'Flower'
'...leaning against one of the slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector.'- David Brin, 1990.
Peel And Stick Thin Film Solar Cells
'It turns sunlight into electricity, just like any solar power converter, but you spray it on.'- Larry Niven, 1995.
Microbattery Extreme High Performance
'To this Foyle affixed a power pack the size of a pea and switched it on.'- Alfred Bester, 1956.
Speeding Ticket Robots To Cite Autonomous Cars?
'There is no danger of a vehicle's speed exceeding that allowed in the section in which it happens to be...'- John Jacob Astor IV, 1894.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
MIT Robot Cheetah Video Shows Gait Transition
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power, like a cheetah's.'
TrackingPoint Smart Rifle
Not your typical 'smart bullet' approach.
'Hello, Computer!' Google Now Highlighted at IO13
Sky City's 220 Stories Are Go
'It rested among green parklands and... stood in total isolation, a glittering block of whites and flashing windows dotted with colors.'
CARMAT Bioprosthetic Total Human Heart Replacement
'George Walt's corporate existence proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'
Personal Sniffer Robots
'...The ticking combinations of the olfactory system of the hound.'
Physical Exam? We've Got Apps
See the future of handheld, personal medical devices.
The Interplanetary Internet, Vint Cerf Speaking
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Drosophila Robotica, The Mechanical Fly
'... the Scarab [flying robot] buzzed into the great workroom as any intruding insect might...'
Robo-Raven Flapping Wing Robot Bird
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'
Japan's Nursing Home Robot Plan
Let's make the Roujin Z-0001 Robotic Bed!
Samsung Smart TVs With Gesture Control
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Swiss HCPVT Giant Photovoltaic 'Flower'
'...leaning against one of the slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector.'
Mini-Livers Made By 3D Printer
Organleggers may experience an employment downturn.
Smartphone Sensor System Tracks Gunfire
'Sound trackers on the roof could zero in on weapons action...'
Bacteria Now Make Biofuel Like Oil
'They have ... germs that eat pretty near anything, and produce oil as a waste product.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories