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Extraction of Water from Air

Sarah Watson
Department of Chemical Engineering
University of Texas at Austin
Major Concepts

Water: 3% by mass of air


4% by volume
Absolute humidity
Relative humidity
Method 1: Direct Extraction

Air pumped into a


chiller where
sensible heat is
removed
Air lowered to dew
point and water
condenses
Method 2: Desiccant

Create vapor pressure


gradient
Attract water molecules
Liquid or Solid
Method 3: Convection

Transfer of heat by the circulation or


movement of the heated parts of a liquid
or gas
Very tall
towers are
used
Power Sources
Efficiency
Daily capacity (L/day)=
Airflow (m^3/s) x 86400s/day x absolute humidity
(g/m^3)X 1/1000 L/g x
=
__amount of water extracted per unit time_______
Total moisture content of air processed per unit time
Method Capacity (L/day)
reverse osmosis desalination 284,000-45,000,000
cooled surface atmospheric
extraction 5,860,000
solid desiccant extraction 100,000,000
liquid desiccant extraction 1,700,000
convection-based extraction 31,000,000
QUESTIONS?
References
1. Barlow, M. (2007). Blue Covenant. The New Press.
2. Ferret, G. (2003, November 2). Water shortages threaten Africa [Scientists and researchers meeting
in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, have warned of the growing threat posed by water shortages
across Africa. ]. Retrieved November 16, 2008, from BBC News Web site:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3235829.stm
3. Festel, D. G. (n.d.). Drinking Water Extraction from Air. Retrieved November 19, 2008, from Festel
Capital Web site: http://www.festel.org/Water_from_Air.pdf
4. Kirby, A. (2003, March 5). UN warns of future water crisis [The worlds water crisis is so severe it
could take almost 30 years to eradicate hunger, the United Nations says.]. Retrieved November
16, 2008, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2818615.stm
5. Kloosterman, K. (2008, November 3). Israeli startup EWA squeezes drinking water from thin air.
Retrieved November 16, 2008, from Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site:
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Israel+beyond+politics/EWA-squeezes-drinking-water-from-air-3-Nov-
2008.htm
6. Royse, D. (2006, September 29). Air alchemy: Can humidity solve post hurricane drinking water
problem? Retrieved November 19, 2008, from
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techinnovations/2006-09-29-air-water-machines_x.htm
7. Scrivani, A., & Bardi, U. (n.d.). A study of the use of solar concentrating plants for the atmospheric
water vapour extraction from ambient air in the Middle East and Northern Africa [Electronic
version]. Desalination, 592-599.
8. Wahlgren, R. V. (2000, April). Atmospheric Water Vapour Processor Designs for Potable Water
Production:: A Review. Pergamon, 1-22.

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