ATMOSPHERIC WATER GENERATORS
An Atmospheric Water Generator, or AWG, is designed to extract water from the humidity present in the ambient air. It employs a condensation process to capture water vapour, then filters and purifies it, ultimately producing high-quality potable water. This technology offers a sustainable and efficient solution to the ever-growing global demand for clean drinking water.
Project Aims & Objectives
Airwater Co. already offers a range of AWGs capable of producing anywhere from 30 to 1,000 litres per day (at 22°C and 55% Relative Humidity). However, due to the use of compressors and refrigerants to cool the condensation surfaces, it is difficult to translate this technology into a desktop-sized product for use in hotels, homes, or office environments.
Proof of Principle Prototype
Our proof-of-principle prototype serves as a functional representation of the AWG's core technology. Instead of a compressor, it employs a Peltier module to cool the condensation surface. A Peltier, or thermoelectric heat pump, is a solid-state device that transfers heat from one side of an element to the other, consuming electrical energy. The primary advantage of a Peltier, compared to vapour-compression refrigeration, is its lack of moving parts or circulating liquid, making it safe, reliable, and compact.
However, the efficiency of the Peltier-powered AWG for water generation is dependent on various factors, including the temperature of the condensation surface and the velocity of the airflow over it. The proof-of-principle prototype allowed us to study the effects of these factors while demonstrating the process of extracting water from the air, condensing it, and delivering safe drinking water. This prototype not only validated the feasibility of Peltier technology for this type of application but also allowed us to define the functionality and usability of the product.
Alongside this working prototype, we used sketchwork to explore different options for the design language of the AWG. This centred around creating an intuitive user interface that would immediately convey the product's functions to users. We achieved this by mounting a clear water reservoir on mango wood legs, allowing users to see when water is available for dispensing. To accomplish this, we brought together a wide range of prototyping processes and materials, including joinery, 3D printing, glass cutting, electronics, and textiles. This enabled us to produce a pair of prototypes that would seamlessly blend on the shelves of John Lewis.