Fontus : Making Water out of Thin Air
by Dev Sheth | published Mar. 4th, 2015
Water makes up around 60 percent of the adult human body, and about three-fourths of the earth’s surface. However, clean drinking water is surprisingly difficult to find. Austrian Industrial Design student Kristof Retezar wants to change that. He has built a prototype of a water bottle system he designed. This system, known as Fontus, attaches to a bicycle frame and transforms humid air into clean water.
Fontus consists of a condenser unit, a water bottle for collection and a solar panel on top of the unit that powers the condenser. The motion of the bike blows air into the condenser unit, which condenses it into moisture. This moisture forms water droplets that collect in the bottle mounted underneath the unit.
Retezar’s design was a finalist for the 2014 James Dyson Award, an international design competition. Under hot and humid conditions, the design produces 0.5 liters of water in an hour. While not exactly a plentiful supply in and of itself, the design could be modified in the future to generate more water at a faster rate.
Retezar’s design is not the first of its kind, but in terms of costs, it is cheaper than similar designs. His estimate of the cost ranges from $25 to $40, but that would come down with further improvements to the design. If the system proves successful, economies of scale dictate that the costs would reduce further.
The current design limits the application of the system to long bike rides for cycling enthusiasts. Retezar, however, foresees applications in more critical areas. Some of these would be obtaining water in areas with high humidity having shortage of groundwater. With the appropriate filters, the design could is also be functional in highly polluted areas.
Whether the device is successful or not remains to be seen. Going forward, though, it can’t be discounted as a possible solution to part of the water problem.