It has been said that the next world war will be fought over water. Water sources are being depleted at an alarming rate and scientists are struggling hard to come up with possible solutions to this dilemma. While their efforts continue, we have a breakthrough in Peru. Researchers have joined forces with an ad agency to provide a feasible solution for the shortage of potable water in Lima. To jolt up your memory, it is the second largest city in the world. The problem of shortage of drinkable water is a serious one and required urgent attention. After some serious work, researchers have a viable solution that is brilliant and yet quite simple; a billboard capable of turning air humidity into drinkable water. Let’s take a geography lesson; the city of Lima lies towards the northern edge of Atacama – The driest desert in the world, and its surrounding villages hardly get 0.51 inches of precipitation per year. The capital city relied for a long time on runoff from glaciers and drainage from the Andes Mountains. However, climate change has made supply from both sources even scarcer. Here are statistical values for you to comprehend how bad the condition is; out of 8.5 million people who are residents of Lima, 1.2 million are faced with zero availability of running water. Their only options include drawing water out of wells- that water is polluted and it is a known fact- or turn to unregulated private water companies that distribute water via water trucks and charge as high as almost 20 times the normal price of tap water. Quite aware of this problem and its severity, Lima’s University of Engineering and Technology started looking for a way to find a solution to this dire problem. The fact that the city’s average air humidity is 83% because of where its located- along the Southern Pacific Ocean, UTEC joined hands with an advertising agency, Mayo DraftFCB, resulting in the creation and installation of a billboard that produces water out of air- literally. The billboard is first of its kind. Let’s take a look at how it works.
This amazing invention is made up of five components which constitute a reverse osmosis system. Step one is capturing humid air, step two is running it through an air filter into the condenser which creates water and that water is then passed through a carbon filter into a central holding tank. One simply has to turn on the faucet that has been installed at the base of billboard and they’ll get their cool water supply which will be drinkable. The video released by Mayo states that this innovation can produce up to a hundred liters of potable water per day. In just a period of three months since it has been installed, the billboard has supplied residents of Lima with 9,450 liters.
The billboard also serves as a tool to attract more students towards UTEC. The Creative Director at Mayo DraftFCB, Alejandro Aponte, said, “We wanted future students to see how engineers can also solve social needs in daily basis kinds of situations”. As of now, there is only one such billboard installed at kilometer marker 89.5 on the Pan-American Highway, however, imagine what a dozen of such billboards will achieve!