Water from air : )

  1. Hello all. So I am trying to see if it is possible to build a device that is able to extract water from the surrounding air. I know there are a couple of systems that already do that (based on condensation), some active and some passive, such as the atmospheric water generator (this device is tooooo expensive though) and air wells.
    As little as 50mL of water per day will do (more will be better).

    I read somewhere that a dehumidifier can be used to extract water from air (but that can cost around $200), worst comes to worst, i might have to go with this method.

    I also read how air well's work, but cannot come up with a decent method.

    Can anyone provide me with a link or method that may be able to help achieve what is needed (assuming my goal is achievable)? Primitive methods are okay as long as the system is somewhat portable.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Dehumidifier, not humidifier. By definition, that is the device you are looking for. There are several methods, but the most common is refrigeration.

    You haven't really told us what your goal is though, so it will be tough to help without more info:
    -How much water?
    -What are the starting conditions of the air?
    -What is your budget?
    -Other constraints?
  4. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    What is the range of relative humidity (RH) in the locations where you want to do this?
  5. Hey, thanks for the quick replies. Oops, I meant dehumidifier, will fix OP, thank you. My goal is to use that water for plants (irrigation). According to a quick google search, the amount of water needed on average (per day) for a petunia is around 50mL (ideally I would water more than one plant, so maybe .3L for 6 plants?.. Essentially, the more the better).

    I know there is a way to calculate water needed for plant (using evapotranspiration), but I feel a quick estimate just to get me started on this "air to water" device will do for now.

    A quick google for my local humidity shows 9-13% moisture (would this be the 'relative' humidity you were asking about?)

    Budget: less than $100 would be nice.

    Other constraints:
    Want to power using 10W solar panel (2 if need be) [assuming a active component]
  6. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    Holy smokes, 9-13% RH is dry! You live in a desert?

    Would drilling a small well be another option?
  7. Ahaha. I live ~10mi from the beach. No, I can't drill. The device would have to be somewhat portable...

    Is there a way to know how much water you can get from 10% humidity, on average per day?
  8. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    1 person likes this.
  9. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    If you are that close to water, RH should be higher than 9-13%.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Nice catch. I think that is a no for the dehumidifier then. I may need to use this water for vegetables. This may be harder than I thought.
  11. If I google "humidity in Irvine," I get 10% Humidity : (
  12. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    Wikipedia also has info about Atmospheric Water Generator, which generates potable water:


    1 person likes this.
  13. berkeman

    Staff: Mentor

    Looks like it makes it up to 30% around 6AM though. Still, it does look pretty dry. Are there hills between Irvine and the beach?
    1 person likes this.
  14. Yes, I have already looked into that (as I mentioned in my OP). It costs at least $600 on amazon, that is way over my budget.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  15. Yes, there are hills. But again, it has to be portable.
  16. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

  17. Thanks for the link. I think if this device works with the current weather, then it should work throughout the year (according to your link), roughly speaking (except for April! the graph for humidity in irvine is very interesting, something weird happens in April! anyway that is completely off topic)

    Maybe somekind of primitive air well system would work?
  18. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Dehumidifiers do not do anything except generate heat when the humidity is low like it is in winter. Point of order though; it is absolute humidity that matters, not relative humidity. A dehumidifier's coil operates at a specific temperature, resulting in a specific dew point for the air moving over it.

    What you are proposing here is an extremely expensive way to generate water. Is there a particular reason why you would not just use tapwater?
  19. No, I was just wondering if it was possible to do so with a low budget, but the more I research the more I realize this is not possible.

    Actually, I just found this:

    I wonder if this is what I am looking for, it is cheap too. Do you think it is worth checking out?

    It says it is around 20Watts and produces around 8oz/day (80% relative humidity). This may work, I wonder how much with the current weather.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  20. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

  21. I will be satisfied if I get as little as 50mL of water. I will order it and see how much water it will yield/day
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