New device may soon create water out of thin air in desert environments

There are more than 1.1 billion people worldwide who still lack access to clean drinking water, while about 2.7 billion are subject to water scarcity. Transporting clean and safe water to these places over long distances and hard-to-cross terrain represents a real logistical hurdle.

Thanks to, a new project led by a subsidiary of the General Electric Company (GE), this challenge could be overcome with a device that can create potable water out of thin air.

Scientists at General Electric’s research lab in Niskayuna recently received $14.3 million in funding to develop a new technology that would allow US troops as well as people on humanitarian missions to create drinking water out of nothing but the air around them.

Called AIR2WATER, the program aims to support the development of compact, distributed systems that can reduce the risks and costs associated with delivering potable water to troops and humanitarians in areas without adequate water supply.

The process will involve the use of new sorbent materials that absorb water out of ambient air, a set of thermal devices, and unique 3D-printed designs to produce enough daily water for 150 people, even in desert environments.

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