Karbox, a manufacturer of containers and special superstructures, in cooperation with the University Centre for Energy Efficient Buildings of CTU, has developed an EWA device that is able to extract water from dry desert air.
In very dry environments, the EWA can recover 25-30 litres of water per day and is many times more efficient than the only technologically similar device from Source Global, a company backed by Bill Gates.
EWA (Emergency Water from Air) is derived from the larger, but similarly functioning S.A.W.E.R. (Solar Air Water Earth Resources), which is also in the solution offer and for which the Czech Republic won the Best Innovation Award at last year's EXPO in Dubai. While S.A.W.E.R. is sized to fit a standard ISO 1C container, EWA is a smaller device. It is a cube with a side of 120 cm on a chassis driven by an electric motor. The electrical energy required for propulsion and for extracting water from the air can be obtained from the grid or from solar panels.
Karbox tested the device in Australia, a country where a large part of the country suffers from daily water shortages. By comparison, a litre of bottled drinking water costs five Australian dollars; EWA produces a litre of water for a dollar. Moreover, laboratory tests on site have shown that the water produced is suitable for direct consumption and even meets the parameters for baby water.
In addition to Australia, other potential markets include the Middle East, desert areas in South America, and potentially Africa and other arid regions of the planet. As part of the cooperation set up, CTU is acting as researcher and developer in this project, while Karbox - as an experienced container manufacturer and developer - will be responsible for production, global marketing and distribution. Currently, Karbox is the recipient of a grant to upgrade the development project to a commercial solution, which will enable the production of the prototype presented so far.
The EWA device is patent protected. It works on the principle of water absorption from the air. It will be manufactured in Karbox in Přelouč. It can serve wherever there is not enough drinking water available, either because of its scarcity, lack of infrastructure or because water in natural sources has been contaminated.
The use of EWA devices can therefore be wide-ranging and the potential for this technological innovation is considerable. Also because all similar devices known to date are primarily designed for humid environments, EWA can also extract water from the atmosphere in dry and hot desert and semi-desert environments.