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Earth Hardware Science

Wind Turbine Extracts Water From Air 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-the-most-of-moist dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Getting access to enough water to drink in a desert environment is a pretty tough proposition, but Eole Water may have solved the problem. It has created a wind turbine that can extract up to 1,000 liters of water per day from the air. All it requires is a 15mph wind to generate the 30kW's of power required for the process to happen. The end result is a tank full of purified water ready to drink at the base of each turbine."
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Wind Turbine Extracts Water From Air

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  • Windtrap (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:47PM (#39726817) Homepage

    Finally, we've developed the technology to colonize Arrakis!

    • Re:Windtrap (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:24PM (#39727351)

      I was just talking to my uncle Owen about the condensers on the south ridge. If I don't get them repaired by mid-day there will be hell to pay. Life is hard on a moisture farm.

    • Re:Windtrap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:25PM (#39727363)
      Wasn't the air so devoid of moisture there that you needed a breathing apparatus to not dessicate that way?

      Which brings me to a serious point: does that "up to 1000 liters of water per day" mean "If you put it right next to a lake with a really strong wind and the humidity is 99%"? The yield must depend on moisture. Is this going to be useful in the Sahara or just outside of Las Vegas?
      • Re:Windtrap (Score:5, Informative)

        by strength_of_10_men (967050) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:01PM (#39727805)

        The yield must depend on moisture. Is this going to be useful in the Sahara or just outside of Las Vegas?

        From TFA:

        A prototype unit was constructed and erected in Abu Dhabi 6 months ago and has consistently produced up to 800 liters of water a day.

        But since that could mean in the middle of the desert or on the coast, your point still stands.

        However, I wonder, if it has access to salt water, why not adapt it to use ocean water instead of the humidity from the air? Is it a problem of what to do with the salt and other minerals?

        • Re:Windtrap (Score:5, Informative)

          by jklovanc (1603149) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:08PM (#39727891)

          Abu Dhabi is a coastal city in the United Arab Emirates so it does mean on the coast.

          The issue with many desalination plants is not the disposal of salts/minerals but keeping the system clean from all those salts/minerals. The issue being that salts/minerals have a tenancy to build up inside the pipes causing the system to need lots of maintenance. Desalination is a well known process and using regular turbines to power the plant is a good idea. This technology is for a different purpose.

          • Re:Windtrap (Score:5, Interesting)

            by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:34PM (#39728237)

            Condensing water directly out of the air avoids a major hurdle of desalination, the evaporation process using heat. By doing it this way, you're machinery will last longer, and nature will naturally evaporate more moisture into the local atmosphere from available sources.

          • Top Secret! (Score:5, Funny)

            by Dave Emami (237460) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @08:12PM (#39729967) Homepage

            The issue with many desalination plants is not the disposal of salts/minerals but keeping the system clean from all those salts/minerals. The issue being that salts/minerals have a tenancy to build up inside the pipes causing the system to need lots of maintenance.

            Doctor Flamond: You see, a year ago, I was close to perfecting the first magnetic desalinization process so revolutionary, it was capable of removing the salt from over 500 million gallons of seawater a day. Do you realize what that could mean to the starving nations of the earth?
            Nick Rivers: Wow! They'd have enough salt to last forever!

        • However, I wonder, if it has access to salt water, why not adapt it to use ocean water instead of the humidity from the air? Is it a problem of what to do with the salt and other minerals?

          It's not just an issue of what to do with the brine... there's also the issue of the vastly increased maintenance costs.... not just because of the environment, but because you'll need more machinery (a distiller and a condenser as opposed to just a condenser) as well.

        • Re:Windtrap (Score:5, Insightful)

          by IcyHando'Death (239387) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @06:49PM (#39729141)

          The yield must depend on moisture. Is this going to be useful in the Sahara or just outside of Las Vegas?

          From TFA:

          A prototype unit was constructed and erected in Abu Dhabi 6 months ago and has consistently produced up to 800 liters of water a day.

          There's that "up to" again. This is marketing speak. I make a point of mentally translating it to "never, under any circumstances, more than", or "between 0 and". Anybody who intends to give helpful information gives an average and possibly standard deviation, including whatever conditions needed to attain those figures. If your only intent is to promote your tech, you say "up to".

          On another note, this is not likely to be used to provide drinking water where seawater or ground water high in salts is available. You'd get more bang for your wind power with desalination. On the other hand it could be very useful for drip irrigation, where salts remaining in desalinated water and even relatively good ground water present long term problems for agriculture as they accumulate over time to concentrations that no crops can tollerate.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jimbirch (2621059)
          The RH in the Sahara could be typically around 25%. This feels dry at 30 degrees C but the air contains 8 g/m3 water. It feels dry, potential evaporation is high, but there's still a lot of water there. If the process can get the air temp down to a near freezing most of the water would condense. The amount of water air can hold increases "exponentially" with temperature. (Which is why tropical raindrops are big.)
      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        Wasn't the air so devoid of moisture there that you needed a breathing apparatus to not dessicate that way?

        The breathing apparatus was designed to capture all moisture in the exhaled air. That moisture was then stored in the suit and available for drinking at any time. The idea was that instead of breathing water out they captured it and drank it again.

        According to their spec sheet even in desert conditions one can get 350 l/day

      • Re:Windtrap (Score:5, Informative)

        by trout007 (975317) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @08:52PM (#39730257)

        Holy crap my experience as an ME comes in handy on /.

        You are correct. You have to use energy to cool the air and the water in the air. But it's much easier to cool a mass of dry air than wet air. But you get less water out of dry air. You have to think of the air being cooled as wasted energy although some can be recovered by using the cool dry air to pre-cool the incoming moister air.. Also you have to cool the air to below it's dew point in order to get the water to condense. In dry air you have to cool it much further to get to the Dew Point.

        Take a look at this psych chart. http://www.rfcafe.com/references/general/images/psychrom_chrt.gif [rfcafe.com]

        This tells you how much energy it takes to cool air from different states.
        So lets take air at Death Valley. Right now it's about 70 F and 20% Humidity.
        Looking on the chart you have:
        Enthalpy 20 BTU/lb
        Dew Point 30 F
        1 lb of air you have 25 grains (.004 lb) of water

        Take Orlando. Right now 80 F and 50% Humidity.
        Looking on the chart you have:
        Enthalpy 30 BTU/lb of air
        Dew Point 60 F.
        1 lb of air you have 80 grains (.011 lb) of water

        So the air in Orlando contains 3 times as much water per lb of air.
        The energy required to cool it is 1.5 times as much per lb
        You only have to cool 50% of the temperature difference (80-60) = 20 F vs (70-30) = 40 F.

        Now lets say you want to get 1000 liters = 2200 lb of water out of the air. Assume you will be able to reduce both to a humidity ratio of 10 grain/lb.
        For Death Valley you will get 15 grain/lb of air so you need to cool 1,026,666 lbs of air.
        Look on the chart for the before and after enthalpy and you get (20-5) Btu/lb = 15 BTU/lb
        You need about 15 x 10^6 BTU to make 1000 liters.

        For Orlando you will get 70 grain/lb of air so you need to cool 220,000 lbs of air
        Look on the chart for the before and after enthalpy and you get (30-5) Btu/lb = 25 BTU/lb
        You need about 5.5 x 10^6 BTU to make 1000 liters.

        • Re:Windtrap (Score:4, Informative)

          by trout007 (975317) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @08:03AM (#39732627)

          All right here it is in SI with some rounding
          http://www.uigi.com/UIGI_SI.PDF [uigi.com] [uigi.com]

          This tells you how much energy it takes to cool air from different states.
          So lets take air at Death Valley. Right now it's about 21 C and 20% Humidity.
          Looking on the chart you have:
          Enthalpy 28.5 kJ/kg
          Dew Point -2 C
          1 kg of air you have 3 g of water

          Take Orlando. Right now 27 C and 50% Humidity.
          Looking on the chart you have:
          Enthalpy 56 kJ/kg of air
          Dew Point 16 C
          1 kg of air you have 11 g of water

          So the air in Orlando contains 3 times as much water per kg of air.
          The energy required to cool it is 2 times as much per lb
          You only have to cool 50% of the temperature difference (21 C-(-2 C)) = 23 C vs (27 C-16 C) = 11 C.

          Now lets say you want to get 1000 liters = 1000 kg of water out of the air. Assume you will be able to reduce both to a humidity ratio of 1.5 g/kg

          For Death Valley you will get 1.5 g/kg of air so you need to cool 6.7 x 10^5 kg of air.
          Look on the chart for the before and after enthalpy and you get (28.5-(-6)) kJ/kg = 34.5 kJ/kg
          You need about 2.3x10^6 kJ to make 1000 liters.
          To make this in a day you need a power of 266 kW.

          For Orlando you will get 9.5 g/kg of air so you need to cool 1.1 x 10^5 kg of air
          Look on the chart for the before and after enthalpy and you get (56-(-6)) kJ/kg = 62 kJ/kg
          You need about 6.5x10^6 kJ to make 1000 liters.
          To make this in a day you need a power of 75 kW

          Again you can get big efficiency gains from using the now -10 C air to prechill the incoming air so the actual power required will be less.

  • Dune! (Score:4, Funny)

    by neiras (723124) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:48PM (#39726827)

    Okay, so windtraps exist. Now to genetically-engineer me a giant worm.

  • see also (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:48PM (#39726837)

    A Slashdot story from 2009 [slashdot.org] on the same idea. That one wasn't operational at the time, though (except as a research prototype), and this seems to be from a different group.

    • Re:see also (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:11PM (#39727135) Journal

      One thing that piques my interest is cost. 800 liters/day is a significant amount of water, but what's the cost per gallon when amortized over 20 years? This isn't a small windmill, the main chamber is the size of a small house!

      • Re:see also (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:51PM (#39727675)

        I had the same question and did a little Googling. Using some huge assumptions:
        * Wind turbine complexes cost about $1.2 - $2.5 M per MW nameplate capacity. Use the high end of that range because we lose some efficiency of scale, adjust to 30kW and we have about $75K for the turbine.
        * They say the Abu Dhabi has been producing 800 L / day, and the nameplate production from the spec sheet is 550 - 1200 L / day. Let's go with 800 L / day consistently on the low-ish end.
        * No clue on maintenance costs or lifespan, but lets give it 10 years

        $75,000 / (800 L / day) / (365 * 10) = $0.025 / L

        Municipal water rates vary all over the board, but they're generally between $0.30 and $3.00 / CCF (100 cubic feet). This is about $0.0001 to $0.001 / L, or 25 - 250 times cheaper than this unit

        • Re:see also (Score:5, Interesting)

          by RonTheHurler (933160) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @06:15PM (#39728771)

          That's assuming municipal water is even available. You need to compare to desalinated water. I used to know those numbers but don't quote me. I think this is comparable, and far, far cheaper than bottled water.

          However desalinated water produces copious amounts of brine and uses lots of energy -- two big problems. This wind thing seems far superior.

        • by giorgist (1208992)
          In the desert water can cost as much as petrol
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            In the drinks section of a western petrol station, water can cost several times more than petrol!

    • by geekoid (135745)

      So this is a fully operation moisture evaporator?

  • by glittermage (650813) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:49PM (#39726839)
    Now the birds will get dry eyes.
  • by philarete (1598473) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:49PM (#39726853)
    Will you need a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators?
    • by lennier (44736)

      Sir, my last job was programming binary load-lifters, very like your vaporators in most respects. Oh, the chats we would have. '1' I would say. Lo-Dee would answer '0'. '01?' '1001'. And it would go on like that all night. I once asked him '0000?' and he replied '11111111!'. And then smoke came out of his motivator and he was very quiet. I still laugh about that.

      I once tried my hand at being navigator on a spice freighter, but without precise calculations we flew right through a star and bounced too close t

      • Leela: (reads number scrawled on wall in red) 0101100101. What does it mean?
        Bender: It's just gibberish. (seeing the numbers reflected in a mirror à la The Shining) 1010011010? AAAAAAAHHHHH

  • Next up, sandtrout and lasguns!
  • Doesn't that include 0 liters? So they're possibly creating exactly what every rock, stick, and insect in the desert already does?

    In case it's not clear, this whole business of "up to x whatevers" is ambiguous. Why don't they just tell us the the criteria involved. Like what different conditions can be expected to supply.

    • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:56PM (#39726927)

      If you read the article you will see that an operational unit is already producing 800 liters a day consistently. I love this stuff, the energy and raw materials to sustain the human race are all around us, just waiting for the right technique to take advantage of them.

      Soooo, that's arid area and probably fresh water shortages licked, what's up next.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Talderas (1212466)

        At 800 liters a day I'm wondering how many of these can operate without severely upsetting the desert ecosystem. If they're sucking out moister in the day, how much moisture will remain in the air to condense during the night for wildlife?

        • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:04PM (#39727041)

          I'd say it has about as much effect as wind turbines do on the wind, ie not much. Its only sucking moisture out of a very, very tiny level of the atmosphere, and only a very tiny cross-section of that. They just won't have any appreciable effect, no matter how many of them you install.

          • by Loughla (2531696) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:32PM (#39727463)

            no matter how many of them you install

            No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible

            One has to wonder about the impact of several million of these, though. - One car doesn't do much polluting, but Los Angeles sure does have a lot of smog.

            • Everything from about 33m down to the ground and from 35m up to space would retain all of its moisture, so an extremely small amount of moisture even if it was a solid sheet of condensers stretching all across the arid area. People just don't get how friggin HUGE the earth is.

              • by geekoid (135745)

                I get how friggin huge the earth is, I also get how much energy humans consume.

                I also gte how importand micro environments can be.

                I'm not saying don't do this,, but there will be an impact of some sort.
                What happens when you have 1000 of these? How would that million liters a day been used otherwise?

                It's important to keep an eye on secondary effects, while building out.

                • Any community large enough to need significant amounts of these would be much better served by desal plants though. I find it hard to imagine a case where vast quantities of these things would have to be built, certainly nowhere near enough to have a significant environmental impact.

        • by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:07PM (#39727081) Journal

          Many deserts are also relatively humid.

          Remember that deserts are defined by precipitation, not humidity. Deserts next to coastal areas lacking sufficient mountains to extract the humidity (such as Abu Dabi, referenced in TFA) are prime candidates.

          This wouldn't work nearly as well in, say, Phoenix Arizona which is not only a desert, but is also arid and dry in every sense of the word.

        • While everything should be properly assessed and verified, my arachnid sense tells me that most probably a great part of that water (if used for local human, animal and agriculture usage) will just evaporate again in a few days. My main doubt would be about agriculture (which also happens to need lots of water)., due to water filtering to lower layers and becoming trapped there.

        • by BergZ (1680594)
          I wonder if you could build enough of these to produce an artificial rainshadow [wikipedia.org] effect downwind?
        • Most of it will be returned to the ecosystem anyway. It's not like the water will be stored forever. It will likely be used very quickly and very close to the source of collection. It will be used to either grow plants, or hydrate humans or animals. Either way, it will end up being evaporated back into the atmosphere and there will be no net change in the long term.
      • by myrdos2 (989497)
        I wonder how economical it is... is it cheaper than desalinizing sea water? If the answer's 'no', there's really no story here.
        • Well since wind turbines are a grand per kilowatt to install, lets say $50,000 install costs for 500 to 1000L per day, with reasonable maintenance. How long would it take to pay for itself at current desal costs, since over the first year it comes to 27 cents a liter?

        • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:21PM (#39727299)

          Whew quick update - a tenth of a cent per liter would be the target

          http://www.canadianclear.com/desalination.html [canadianclear.com]

          so it would have to be running ~150 years to equal that kind of throughput. With that said there are plenty of places it would be useful which are not accessable to desal tech without major infrastructure investment, so I can see value, while it's not the answer to all questions on fresh water.

          • by myrdos2 (989497)
            Hmmm... you don't have to go wind though. If you can get 10 cents per KWh, and the system takes 30 KW, you're looking at three dollars/per hour to run this thing, or $72 per day. At 1000 litres per day, we're at 7.2 cents per liter. (Plus the cost of the system) Still seems pretty high for any kind of large-scale deployment - more than 72 times the (ideal) cost of desalinization.
            • I'd say once you start factoring in the cost of pipelines and pumps from the coast it gets a lot closer to parity, especially when you're talking about many remote and dispersed communities. With this tech you just drop a unit anywhere and there's your water.

              • by Jeremi (14640) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @09:36PM (#39730483) Homepage

                I'd say once you start factoring in the cost of pipelines and pumps from the coast it gets a lot closer to parity, especially when you're talking about many remote and dispersed communities. With this tech you just drop a unit anywhere and there's your water.

                Very true... and another advantage for this idea is that it's defensible. The problem with pipelines is they stretch for miles through the wilderness, and some people have an annoying tendency to sabotage or tap into them. The windmill, on the other hand, is easier to guard because it's all in one spot.

    • by Kergan (780543)

      It requires 15mph wind at least, and the up to likely depends on air humidity (which is plentiful in coastal places like Dubai).

    • by retchdog (1319261)

      A prototype unit was constructed and erected in Abu Dhabi 6 months ago and has consistently produced up to 800 liters of water a day.

      other sites say that production was between 500 to 800L. six months ago was october, which has mean precipitation 0.4" there.

  • Fix the Atmospheric Condensers.

  • by Gotung (571984) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:52PM (#39726883)
    But I was going down to the Toshi stations to pick up some power converters!!!
  • by nam37 (517083) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:57PM (#39726939) Homepage
    So now what we really need is a droid who understands the binary language of moisture vaporators.
  • by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:58PM (#39726959)
    Water from the air can still be contaminated with dihydrogen monoxide, a byproduct of combustion, which a lot of factories and power plants give off.
    • by XiaoMing (1574363)

      Yeah, I hate it when H2O gets into my water.

    • Water from the air can still be contaminated with dihydrogen monoxide, a byproduct of combustion, which a lot of factories and power plants give off.

      In the immortal words of Mr. Andrew Dice Clay...

      OH!

  • I don't think the vaporators on Tatooine produced power, too. What next? Will someone finally invent the hyperdrive?
  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:59PM (#39726973) Homepage

    Smaller tropical islands are very humid but often don't have enough rainfall to keep an adequate freshwater supply, and as a result use desalination plants.

    A turbine like this would work quite well in such an environment.

    • by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:25PM (#39727369)

      This would also be useful for areas such as rural parts of central Texas, where the water table is so low that drilling a reliable well is dicey, the humidity is high, and the wind is fairly constant for most of the year.

      For a small farm that tries to be as off-grid as possible, other than the noise factor from windmills, this would be ideal. If the water yield is good enough, it would mean irrigation is taken care of regardless of drought conditions.

      I just hope this technology doesn't just fade away as many others have in the past. There is definitely a use for this around the world, as usable fresh water becomes harder and harder to find.

  • by mrflash818 (226638) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:02PM (#39727007) Homepage Journal

    ...Then the people consuming the electricity can chose to use it to run moisture water condensers, or make electricity for things like running air conditioning?

    Or, win/win: Put up wind farms that generate electricity.
    Run electricity to dwellings. Have the dwellings run air conditioning systems that also collect condensed water.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      Condensed A/C water would not be my first choice of drink...

      • by Cosgrach (1737088)

        Ewwww. Water condensed from Anonymous Cowards. How gross.

        I seem to recall a story about a distillery in Scotland that used urine from diabetics because if the high sugar content. Also somewhat gross.

    • Ah, I read the 2nd URL ( http://www.eolewater.com/gb/our-products/range.html [eolewater.com] ), and see that the company does make PV and grid-tie systems, so my previous is now moot, as they already have systems to do electricity generation as well.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Putting the condenser behind the turbine ensures that it gets a nice airflow, improving its efficiency.

    • by steveha (103154) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:30PM (#39727439) Homepage

      Put up wind farms that generate electricity.
      Run electricity to dwellings. Have the dwellings run air conditioning systems that also collect condensed water.

      For one thing, a purpose-built device will be much more efficient at its one intended purpose. Just how much water do you get as a side-effect of running an air conditioner? The prototype of this turbine consistently extracts 800 litres of water a day.

      For another thing, in "developing" areas, it will be easier to put in a few self-contained devices than to build out a complete infrastructure. Clean water is essential to life, but air conditioning isn't, and devices like this will provide useful water as soon as they are installed. How soon does your plan start providing nontrivial amounts of drinking water?

      And in "developing" areas, it is more likely possible that one of these can be installed in the middle of town, than that every home will be able to afford to have air conditioning installed. I'm not even sure if a whole town could afford to buy one of these things, but maybe an international aid organization will pay for it. But who will pay for an air conditioning unit for each home in a town?

      steveha

      • In 2010, the GDP per capita of Abu Dhabi reached $49,600, which ranks ninth in the world after Qatar, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. That's higher than in the United States, which is around $41,000. The reality is that since Reagan and the shrink the US at all costs except for the military philosophy has taken over standards of living in "developing" nations are now a lot better than in many parts of the US.

    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      Because then the electricity is mostly wasted. The problem with energy is not creating it but STORING and TRANSPORTING it. Batteries are notoriously ineffecient, and you lose energy every mile you ship it. Everytime it hits a transformer you lose a lot more.

      You make it at location X, send it to someplace else where it may or may not be useful. You can't make too much, or it causes problems, nor can you depend on your wind energy to say cool your home because it isn't always windy.

      This however is a

    • by PPH (736903)

      Because feeding power into the grid has major consequences for storage and stability if your source is variable. If you can directly feed some process that has been designed to tolerate this variability, then its only necessary to store the output.

      The variable wind powered dehumidifiers will displace the electrical power (from stable base load plants) that was previously used to desalinate water.

  • Uncle Owen: "What I really need is a droid who understands the binary language of moisture vaporators." C-3PO: "Vaporators? Sir, my first job was programming binary load lifters very similar to your vaporators in most respects."
    • I don't remember C-3PO doing that binary load lifters thing in parts I, II, or III . . . wasn't his first job helping Anakin's Mom or something . . . C-3PO was apparently fudging his resume to get a job in a really tough job market.

      • by NonUniqueNickname (1459477) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:57PM (#39727747)
        As far C-3PO knows, the binary load lifters story is true. Shortly after the conclusion of Episode III, C-3PO contracted the Tyrell Corporation to wipe its memory banks and implant the memories of another robot. C-3PO effectively has no recollection of Episodes I, II, or III. Lucky bastard.
      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        I don't remember C-3PO doing that binary load lifters thing in parts I, II, or III . . . wasn't his first job helping Anakin's Mom or something . . . C-3PO was apparently fudging his resume to get a job in a really tough job market.

        I thought I remembered one point near the end of III where it was ordered for C-3PO's memory to be wiped. So it is quite possible that his first job post-wipe could have been programming binary load lifters.

    • by Kittenman (971447)

      Uncle Owen: "What I really need is a droid who understands the binary language of moisture vaporators." C-3PO: "Vaporators? Sir, my first job was programming binary load lifters very similar to your vaporators in most respects."

      Er ... you need to get out more.

  • Note where they're testing it: Abu Dhabi, a coastal city at the edge of a desert. Current humidity in Abu Dhabi is 51%. The CIA Factbook says the UAE's water situation is a "lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification". That's the ideal site, with both humidity and wind.

    Think of this as a form of desalinization. Coastal, or even offshore, windmills producing both power and water.

  • I'm pretty sure that the NIMBY crowd are going to remain silent on it, but still... I'm sure that somebody's going to come up with some reason why these shouldn't go up.
  • I don't get it. Why does it have to heat the air up ("to produce steam") ??

    Why can't it just take the air and cool it down, instead of wasting energy for heating?

  • Eole is actually building several models to handle different climates. The Pacific Northwest model is similar to the model pictured, but smaller and in place of the turbine is a large handle. It's just a big bucket.
  • by XiaoMing (1574363) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:23PM (#39728099)

    I don't get it. Why does it have to heat the air up ("to produce steam") ??

    Why can't it just take the air and cool it down, instead of wasting energy for heating?

    It claims to heat the (hot, desert) air to "produce steam" which is then condensed. The water is already in the air, you don't need to heat it, just cool it to grab the water out.

    Either this is a crap article, or its one of those over-unity perpetual motion scams.

    To everyone questioning the snake-oil of having to steamify this mysterious water vapour before recondensing it, please keep in mind the following:

    I. Just because the water molecule is in the air (via most likely evaporation), it does not imply that the water vapor has a lot of kinetic energy (it's not hot water vapor like steam is). An analogous situation to this is how the water vapor coming out of a kettle can cook your hand, but a muggy day only ruins your hair.

    II. Next, we want to consider efficiency. As this article (first link when googling for "steam condense efficiency") http://www.engineersedge.com/heat_exchanger/large_steam_condenser.htm [engineersedge.com] mentions, the laws of thermodynamics dictate that the largest temperature difference is the most efficient for mechanisms such as condensation.

    III. -Finally, thermodynamics also dictates two last details about generating temperature differences:
    1. That it's much more efficient to cool to a temperature close to ambient (same reason why low-TC superconducting magnets are bathed in multiple blankets of cryo-fluids with different boiling points, rather than just liquid helium blanket and room temperature on the other side),
    2. That heat is very cheap and easy to make (often referred to as the "dirtiest" form of energy because it's maximized in entropy).

    IV. Put all those things together, and one arrives at the following:
    -I want to condense water, and to do it well I need a huge temperature difference between the vapor in the air and my condenser coil.
    -It's really hard, costly, and wasteful to make a super good air-conditioner inside a turbine for no reason.
    -I'll just heat (remember, it's P=IR heating coil easy!) the water first, and then make a mediocre condenser, and get just the same gains as having a phenomenal condenser.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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