Rooftop ‘hydropanels’ generate clean drinking water out of thin air

Globally, around 2.1 billion people don’t have clean drinking water at home, either because water infrastructure doesn’t exist or because the water flowing through pipes is contaminated. Enter Zero Mass Water, an Arizona-based startup aiming to become part of the solution of tackling the problem of water scarcity, with the help of an innovative device.

Called a “hydropanel”, the device looks and even works as a solar panel and is designed to produce four to ten liters of drinking water every day depending on weather conditions and humidity levels.

Sunlight powers fans inside the panel that pull in humidity from the air. Once inside the panel, air is purified and passed through a spongelike material that concentrates the water vapor and deposits it in a reservoir. The water is mineralized for drinking and ozonated to ensure it’s kept clean. Then the water can be sent by pipe to taps inside.

We’ve written about Zero Mass Water before, but back then the startup only had a prototype. Last week, however, a residential version was unveiled at a consumer tech show. That means the production of this device is getting upscaled, which ultimately means a new source of clean water is on its way that might help us break up our wasteful reliance on bottled water.

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