We started making water from air in the desert

News, 09/08/2019

Scientists from the University Center for Energy-Efficient Buildings of the Czech Technical University launched the SAWER system in the desert in the United Arab Emirates, the development of which began in 2017. The testing will be evaluated at the end of 2019. The designers will use the experience gained from the trial operation when working on of the equipment design for the Czech pavilion at EXPO 2020 in Dubai, which should be installed next year.

Testing of the system will run in the Sweihan Desert in the UAE for approximately six months to provide data from both extreme summer, autumn and winter operation. During this time, its creators, led by Tomáš Matuška, want to check how SAWER will hold up in a real desert environment, where it will have to withstand high temperatures, fine sand and other adverse effects.

After all, the team from CTU UCEEB, which came to the United Arab Emirates to put the equipment into operation, also had to deal with them. Because of the high temperatures of around 45°C, the scientists could only work at night while they rested during the day. Also for this reason, it is an advantage that their permanent presence on site is not needed, as the data will be collected remotely. Only a few short trips to the UAE are expected for inspections and possible equipment adjustments.

It is too early to draw any conclusions about the durability and performance of the device after a few days of operation. The water obtained from the system can be used at a nearby camel farm, where Bedouins from the surrounding area also go to get it. The system could significantly help them in the future, as it should be able to work completely autonomously using only solar energy, even in the most remote areas where there are no asphalt roads or power lines. However, due to the decrease of drinking water in the world, it is not excluded that SAWER will find use elsewhere.

Our team of scientists (from left): V. Zmrhal, T. Matuška, B. Šourek, P. Wolf, P. Pelán.