Why Some Californians Are Buying Machines That Make Water From Air – GV Wire

The machine that Ted Bowman helped design can produce water from air, and in parched California, some homeowners are already buying expensive devices.

Air-to-water systems work like air conditioners using coils to cool the air and then collect the water drops in a basin.

“Our motto is, water from air isn’t magic, it’s science, and that’s really what we’re doing with these machines,” said Ted Bowman, design engineer at Tsunami Products. , based in Washington State.

The machine creates water by dehumidifying the air

The system is one of many that have been developed in recent years to extract water from the humidity in the air. Other inventions include mesh netting, solar panels, and shipping containers that harvest moisture from the air.

Bowman said his company’s machines — designed for use in homes, offices, ranches and elsewhere — dehumidify the air and, in doing so, create water that is filtered to make it safe to drink.

The technology works especially well in foggy areas and, depending on the size, can produce between 200 gallons and 1,900 gallons of water per day. The machines also work effectively in all high humidity areas, including the California coastline, he said.

The machines aren’t cheap, with prices ranging from $30,000 to $200,000. Yet in California, where residents have been urged to save water because one of the worst droughts in recent history has depleted reservoirs, some homeowners are buying them to meet their water needs.

The customer thinks the machine will pay for itself

Benicia’s Don Johnson said he bought the smaller machine, which looks like a massive air conditioning unit, hoping it would generate enough water to maintain his garden. But he discovered that it produced more than enough for his garden and his house.

“This machine will produce water for a lot less than you can buy bottled water at Costco, and I think over time and as the price of fresh water through our utilities goes up, I think it will more than pay for itself,” he said.

Apart from the high price, the unit also requires a significant amount of energy to operate. But Johnson said the solar panels on his roof produced enough power to run the machine without additional energy costs.

Good for individual use but will not solve the dryness problem

Experts like Helen Dahlke, a hydrology researcher at the University of California, Davis, said the technology makes sense for individual homeowners, especially in rural areas. But she said it was not a practical solution to California’s larger water problems.

Dahlke said the focus should be on tackling global warming to prevent future droughts.

“We really need to curb global warming to really make a difference again,” she said.

James G. Williams