by Heaven Daily | The Associated Press
BENICIA — The machine Ted Bowman helped design make water out of air, and in Parched California, some homeowners are already buying the treasured appliance.
Air-to-water systems work like air conditioners by using coils to cool the air, then collecting the water droplets in a basin.
“Our motto is, air to water isn’t magic, it’s science, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with these machines,” said Ted Bowman, design engineer at Washington State-based Tsunami Products.
The system is one of several developed in recent years to extract water from the dam. Other inventions include mesh nets, solar panels and shipping containers that harvest moisture from the air.
Bowman said his company’s machines — built for use in homes, offices, farms and elsewhere — dehumidize the air and, in doing so, create water that is filtered to make it drinkable.
The technology works particularly well in foggy areas and can produce 200 to 1,900 gallons of water a day, depending on the size. He said the machines work efficiently in any area with high humidity, including the California coastline.
But they are not cheap, ranging in price from $30,000 to $200,000. Still, in California, where residents have been asked to conserve water because one of the worst droughts in recent history has depleted reservoirs, some homeowners purchase them to meet their water needs. are.
Don Johnson, of the San Francisco Bay Area city of Benicia, said he bought the smallest machine, which looks like a giant AC unit, hoping it would produce enough water to sustain his garden. But she found it was more than enough for her garden and her house.
“This machine will produce far less water than you would buy bottled water at Costco, and I believe that as time goes on and the price of freshwater flows through our utilities, I think It’s going to more than pay for itself,” he said.
Apart from the high price tag, the unit also requires a significant amount of energy to run. But Johnson said his roof-mounted solar panels produce enough power to operate the machine without additional energy costs.
Experts such as University of California, Davis hydrology researcher Helen Dahlke said the technology makes sense for individual homeowners, especially in rural areas. But she said it is not a practical solution to California’s widespread water crisis.
Dahlke said the focus should be on fighting global warming to prevent future droughts.
“We really really need to curb climate warming to make a difference again,” she said.