A self-filling water bottle for your bike is the new thing in town. It makes water out of thin air. The new Fontus is powered by solar panels; it collects the moisture from your surrounding and stores it as safe drinking water after condensing it. It can produce 0.5 liters every hour, in the right climatic conditions.
Designed by Kristof Retezar of the University of Applied Arts, the amazing invention is their entry for the James Dyson award competition. Fontus uses a Peltier Element for working; a solid-state active heat pump to transfer heat from one end of the device to other.
The bottom side heats up while the upper side cools, during the time when it is powered by electricity. During pedaling, the air enters the lower chamber at high speeds; it cools the hot side down. When entering the upper chamber, perforated walls stop the air entering, reducing its speed and giving the air enough time to lose its water molecules, which then allows condensation which is collected in a water bottle.
Rigorous tests have been performed on the prototype. According to Kristof, “After more than 30 experiments, I finally achieved a constant drop-flow of one drop of condensed water per minute. After developing a functioning inner system, I designed a compact and practical hull which can be easily attached to a bicycle, integrates the water bottle and can be comfortably handled.”
The technology applied is not a new one and has been used in certain cultures in Asia and Central America for more than 2000 years. Kristof saw the opportunity to implement it for bikes. And for those thinking, “Why Bikes?” According to UN statistics, “More than 2 billion people in more than 40 countries live in regions where water is scarce.” Besides, the airflow produced during cycling is convenient for the process.
This is a clever procedure to get water in those areas of the world where ground water is scarce but air humidity is high. Around 13,000km3 of mostly unexploited freshwater is contained within the Earth’s atmosphere in the form of moisture. Pretty cool invention for all cyclists, isn’t it?