Thanks for the details.ffffs. The lengths people will go not to worry the pretty little heads with such inconveniences as "science" is unbelievable.
Yeah, and thanks loads for making me have to google for the original link.
Garbage article from google/x-company ; it does contain a larger resolution diagram of the device where - given an existing (but shallow) knowledge of the existence of desiccation dehumidifiers - it's easier to figure out what's actually happening
A directly related article/paper in Nature which looks possibly interesting and I might read tomorrow if the headache from looking at the crap article subsides.
It's a desiccant dehumidifier : they exist ; I think the "new" thing is the man-portable paradigm.
The inside air and the outside air do not mix.
There's a turntable (close to the B mark on the diagram) which contains a desiccant.
As it turns, outside air is blown across the surface, which sucks out some moisture because that's what desiccants do. (The outside air then leaves the device, never to be seen from, again).
It continues to turn, the slightly soggy surface passing through the curtain to the inside, where hot(ter) internal air is blown across it, evaporating some of the water. The particular patch of turntable we're looking at then returns to the outside as fresh, shiny and dry.
Meanwhile the inside air goes and does the heat exchange thing, which cools it and causes some of the water vapour to condense. It then returns (through the other side of the heat-exchange) to the turntable.
Yes, it works. The article says so, and even says the prototype does "150ml/h/m^2", though it mentions neither what the m^2 refers to (presumably one of either heating or desiccant surfaces), nor the environmental conditions under which the measurement/calculation took place.
Efficient ? compared to what ?
It doesn't look like a prototype so much as a proof of concept. In my pretty much totally uneducated-on-the-subject-matter opinion it could be done without the fans, though : probably less efficient, but niftier IMHO. On the other hand, you could use the (presumed) solar panels which run the thing to charge a cellphone to call for a pizza. That bit's efficient in respect that the waste heat from electricity generation is actually being used (to heat the internal air).
Not to denigrate the people who designed and put it together; I'm not going to pretend I could do it.
If I'm correct, the following dependencies hold true as relating to condensate output:
1) The hotter the inside air blowing- the more it can extract moisture & the more the yield.
2) The more rounds of heat exchange process takes place per unit time, the more the yield.
3) The lower I can get the temperature of the ambient air on the bottom, the more the yield.
Is that true? If there's some physics wizard in here, an exact equation relating all those variables in the system would help massively!