Wind turbine farms clean water from desert air

As climate change continues to become more apparent, scientists say we are in for lots more hot, very dry weather in some regions of the world.

Since it’s highly likely that many fresh water supplies will continue to disappear, it’s essential that new water producing technologies are developed—and quickly.

Plants and animals living in the desert have evolved to utilize even tiny bits of moisture in their quest for survival. The ability to capitalize on natural condensation inspired a French technology startup to develop a wind turbine with similar traits. 

Eole Water is working on a wind turbine that can produce hundreds of liters of water every day, using nothing but dry desert air.

The Eole WMS 1000 wind turbine features a 13-meter diameter rotor with a 12-metric-ton nacelle housing a direct-drive permanent-magnet generator protected by sand-shutters. It starts by drawing wind through air regulators. 

The moisture in the air is then transformed into steam by heat from the turbine’s generator. The steam is then compressed, the moisture condenses, and the resulting water droplets flow down pipes within the turbine and into stainless steel tanks for purification.

According to one report, Eole CEO Marc Parent, an engineer, got the idea for this amazing turbine back in the 1990s, when he began reducing his bottled water costs by siphoning the condensation from his air conditioner.

Early tests show that the device is capable of creating 500-800 liters of clean water every day through the process of condensation. And that’s in the arid climate of the United Arab Emirates where the prototype is being tested. 

Eole hopes that installing the turbine offshore or near the coast where there are higher humidity and wind conditions could produce even more.

* Beth Buczynski, EarthTechling