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Providing water for everyone with water-from-air technology

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ThinAirWater (Providing water for everyone with water-from-air technology)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2019-01-31

ThinAir’s project for the Horizon 2020 Phase 1 revolved around the development of surface structures and chemistries (hydrophilic & hydrophobic) to enhance water condensation. These surface topologies were designed for integration within dehumidification devices to improve the rate of water condensation, with the vision of then being applied for the production of clean drinking water condensed from the air. The drive for the project was the fact that drinking water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource - we will require 40% more water to meet the needs of the increasing population. Harnessing a fraction of the 140 quadrillion litres of water in the atmosphere represents an untapped and abundant source.
Our beachhead market within the dehumidification sector represented an opportunity for us to enhance the efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of industrial and residential dehumidifier units. The grant provided funding to further investigate the surface topographies that ThinAir had secured patents for and scale-up the prototype to represent the type of evaporator coil that is present within heat exchanger systems. ThinAir were able to develop a new environmental chamber which was capable of thermostatically controlling the humidity and temperature within 0.5% and 0.5^o​​C respectively. This provided the foundations for ThinAir to thoroughly test a multitude of surface structures and chemistries that are presently used within the industry to provide valuable condensation quantification, as well as obtain scaled up water condensation metrics for our own innovative surfaces. Simultaneously the team continued to develop our collaboration connections, refine the business model and progress customer development.
The outcome of this research project was the identification of the valuable condensation data that ThinAir had gathered for progressing the industry knowledge base. ThinAir’s technology has not scaled to larger implementations as we had hoped, however, we believe it can contribute to the betterment of the scientific literature, by providing insights into the minimal effects that millimetric surface modifications, on evaporator coils, have on the rate of water condensation.
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