An 82-year-old Spanish engineer has invented a machine that can produce drinking water from the air.
Water scarcity is one of the most pressing problems facing humanity today, especially in regions that typically find it harder to access it.
Climate change has also caused some of the worst droughts in Europe in the last 2,100 years, according to a study by the University of Cambridge published in Phys.Org.
As a result, Western countries are now finding it a lot harder to remain complacent on the issue.
Solving the problem isn't a task that can be carried out easily or overnight, but up-and-coming innovators do offer hope of a solution.
One such innovator, an 82-year-old Spanish engineer, has invented a machine that can produce drinking water by extracting it from the air.
In conjunction with humanitarian aid, his machine would prove invaluable to more arid regions.
"The objective is to reach places like refugee camps where they do not have water to drink," 82-year-old engineer Enrique Veiga told Reuters.
Veiga invented the drinking water extractor in the 1990s to combat droughts in southern Spain but, at that time, the device couldn't withstand temperatures of 40ºC and it could only work with humidity below 8%.
This engineer's company, Aquaer, is being commissioned to manufacture the devices. It is already supplying drinking water in some areas of Namibia and in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
"In the villages we visited in Namibia, people were amazed, they didn't understand it, they asked where the water came from," said the engineer.
Veiga's machine can produce between 50 and 75 liters of water a day. Due to its small dimensions, it can also be transported on a cart.
Larger versions of the device, on the other hand, could generate up to 5,000 liters per day.
The machine works by cooling the air to the point of condensation, transforming it into water so it's ready to be collected. It's the same system that creates condensation in air conditioners.
Another plus is that the machine can operate in more extreme conditions — Veiga's machine can work in temperatures of up to 104ºF and humidity of between 10% and 15%.
This, coupled with its small size, makes the device easy to handle, making it even more useful in countries with, particularly hot climates.
"Our idea is not only to make a device that is effective but one that's useful for people who have to walk for kilometers to fetch water or dig wells," said Veiga.
The Galician-born engineer has founded non-profit organization Water Inception so he could take his machine to refugee camps and other parts of the world.
Read the original article on Business Insider España. Copyright 2021.
This post has been translated from Spanish.