London: Imagine wind turbines that conjure drinking water out of thin air and how they could help developing countries overcome their water scarcity.
French engineering firm Eole Water modified typical power-generating turbines to allow them to distill drinking water out of air. A prototype in Abu Dhabi already produces 62 litres of water an hour.
Eole hopes to sell turbines generating a 1,000 litres a day later this year. The turbine can generate both energy and water with nothing else except humid air.
"This technology could enable rural areas to become self-sufficient in terms of water supply. As the design and capabilities develop, the next step will be to create turbines that can provide water for small cities or areas with denser populations," said Thibault Janin, director of marketing at Eole Water, as per a newspaper reports.
The turbine works in the same way as other turbines around the world do. Air gets sucked into the nose of the turbine and is directed to a cooling compressor. The humidity is then extracted from the air and condensed and collected.
The water then travels down stainless steel pipes under the force of gravity into a storage tank, where - with some filtering and purification - it is then ready to drink, wash, or cultivate with. Janin said one generator producing 1,000 litres daily is `enough to provide water for a village or town of 2,000 to 3,000 people.`
He said communities in Africa and South America, and remote islands in Asia with little access to safe drinking water, would be the types of communities which stood to benefit the most from the technology.
Each turbine costs around 400,000 pounds, with a life expectancy of 20 years. However, Janin noted that prices would fall as economies of scale came into play.