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Power Science

Water From Wind 411

Posted by kdawson
from the and-power-too dept.
ghostcorps recommends a writeup in The Australian by columnist Phillip Adams about a new windmill design that extracts water from air. The article gives few details of how it works, because patent protection is not yet in place, but what is revealed sounds promising. "[Max] Whisson's design has many blades, each as aerodynamic as an aircraft wing, and each employing 'lift' to get the device spinning... They don't face into the wind like a conventional windmill; they're arranged vertically, within an elegant column, and take the wind from any direction... The secret of Max's design is how his windmills, whirring away in the merest hint of a wind, cool the air as it passes by... With three or four of Max's magical machines on hills at our farm we could fill the tanks and troughs, and weather the drought. One small Whisson windmill on the roof of a suburban house could keep your taps flowing. Biggies on office buildings, whoppers on skyscrapers, could give independence from the city's water supply. And plonk a few hundred in marginal outback land — specifically to water tree-lots — and you could start to improve local rainfall."
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Water From Wind

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  • Interested.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SQLGuru (980662) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:45PM (#17817170) Journal
    Things I would like to know:

    1. Does this design perform better than other windmill designs (for generation).
    2. What will this do to the atmospheric conditions?
    3. If everyone has one....will it no longer rain?

    Layne
    • Re:Interested.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SQLGuru (980662) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:50PM (#17817262) Journal
      Oh, and if you put the windmill high enough, can you also generate considerable electricity with the water as gravity brings it down to the ground?

      Layne
      • Re:Interested.... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by misleb (129952) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @02:14PM (#17817670)
        I'm guessing that it is more of a constant trickle. Doubt it would generate much electricity. Might as well try to build a dam at the curb of your street to generate electricity from teh water flowing into the sewers :P

        -matthew

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          "Might as well try to build a dam at the curb of your street to generate electricity from teh water flowing into the sewers :P"

          That idea stinks....but it's crazy enough that it just might work. There is always water flowing in the sewars, hook up a few thousand paddle wheels attached to a generator and you could probably power a few streetlights. Or, maybe a heating coil under the street surface to melt snow and ice.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by markmier (306777)
            Or you could use the power from the flowing sewage to power the sewage lift pumps that lead to the sewage treatment plant!

            oh wait...
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ceoyoyo (59147)
            Problem is, your primary concern with a sewer is not having it back up. Putting in a bunch of obstacles to the flow sort of defeats that purpose.
        • Re:Interested.... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @05:37PM (#17820798) Homepage

          I'm guessing that it is more of a constant trickle. Doubt it would generate much electricity.

          IANAEE (I am not an electrical engineer) but if this thing can generate water, AND wind power...wouldn't it be a self-powered fuel cell? The process of separating the hydrogen could be powered by the wind-generated electricity it would seem. I'd love for someone with much more understanding of the physics behind this to tear apart my idea but this thing sounds damned useful. Not sure how small it could be made and still maintain its effectiveness but imagine giving a portable version of this to sailors. If you could create drinking water and electricity from this while floating on the ocean that would be a real life saver.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Fordiman (689627)
            "The process of separating the hydrogen could be powered by the wind-generated electricity it would seem."

            The energy efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells is roughly 50%. That means that if you put 100W into splitting the output water into hydrogen and oxygen, the resulting fuel cell would produce 50W. Seeing as generator efficiency can be as low as 80% due to heat losses, that means you would get about 40% of the wind energy in the form of electricity when you go to use the fuel cell.

            Now, if you're talking a
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slashbob22 (918040)

        Oh, and if you put the windmill high enough, can you also generate considerable electricity with the water as gravity brings it down to the ground?
        Or you could just use the wind to generate the electricity.
    • Re:Interested.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:55PM (#17817348) Journal
      Disclaimer: just my guesses:

      1. Does this design perform better than other windmill designs (for generation).

      No; conventional windmills have long been designed to extract the maximum amount of mechanical work from the air. This new windmill is not designed to do that, and works the same in any wind direction.

      2. What will this do to the atmospheric conditions?

      Small decrease in humidity.

      3. If everyone has one....will it no longer rain?

      It will still rain. The windmills couldn't possibly collect all evaporating air in a short radius. Even if they did, clouds call still blow in from over oceans and lakes.
    • I would also like to know how this works. Any speculations here?

      Here's my theory: It uses the power generated from the windmill to run some sort of cooling mechanism to cool the blades, which then causes condensation on the blades, where the water will trickle down into some container.
      • My theory, based on the hints in the article, is that the blades themselves cool a central condensing tower, which collects the water. Power generation for pumping the water beyond that is just a bonus, it's the whirling blades themselves that cool the air (you'll see the same thing on the bottom of airplane wings).
        • it's the whirling blades themselves that cool the air (you'll see the same thing on the bottom of airplane wings).
          What's the mechanism that causes the air to cool? I understand that when moving air contacts skin, the moisture in the skin evaporates quicker, removing more heat, making it feel cooler. But wouldn't the friction between the moving air and the blade cause the temperature to increase? BTW, I'm no scientist, so I might just be talking out of my a$$.
          • Re:Interested.... (Score:4, Informative)

            by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @02:33PM (#17817932) Journal
            What's the mechanism that causes the air to cool?

            TFA doesn't say, but there's a couple of ways it could be done. Just dropping air pressure would tend to cool the air somewhat, and that will happen on the leeward side of any airfoil moving through the atmosphere. When aircraft fly into icing conditions, the ice tends to collect on the upper surfaces of the wings where the air pressure is lower.

            One other possibility is using a windmill to drive a Sterling-cycle engine. That will pump heat from one cylinder to the other, and water will condense on the cool side.

            -jcr

          • Re:Interested.... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by danpat (119101) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @02:39PM (#17818020) Homepage
            Another post already mentioned this, but it's all to do with pressure. See this:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airfoil [wikipedia.org]

            when air moves over something like an airfoil, a low pressure area is created.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideal_gas_law [wikipedia.org]

            Generally, when you drop the pressure, the temperature will also drop. A drop in temperature will likely lead to condensation, which this device puports to gather.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Radon360 (951529)

            I believe that it's works based off of the ideal gas law, more more specifically, Gay-Lussac's law [wikipedia.org]. The blades reduce the air pressure in close vicinity, causing a drop in temperature. Colder air can't hold as much moisture so some of it condenses out as water.

            What gets me is that this machine will have to work really hard in drier climates to extract water, as you essentially need to lower air to its dewpoint temperature to get water to condense out. In a desert, the dewpoint can be as low as 35F on a

            • by jcr (53032)
              Don't forget that it's a lot cooler in the desert at night. The optimal time for water-gathering probably isn't midday.

              -jcr

      • by general_re (8883) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @02:20PM (#17817776) Homepage

        I would also like to know how this works. Any speculations here?
        I understand these moisture vaporators are similar to binary load-lifters. Get the right droid to program them, and you're good to go.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rei (128717)
        Here's my theory: this tech is as relevant as the "tree power" concept posted last year. Way too much hype for a device with way too few details from an inventor with no credits to his name generally means there's nothing there of substance.

        Prove my speculation wrong, Adams and Whisson. Please, prove me wrong.
    • Re:Interested.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @02:06PM (#17817520) Journal
      Things I would like to know:

      Phillip Adams, this guy Max Whisson is your longtime friend. You give no details about how his device works, yet you ask for people to invest money with him. Is this a scam? You say you already have investors, yet you haven't managed to get a patent on this device yet, and so you need to keep the details secret. Why should we think this is anythign but a scam?
      • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @02:12PM (#17817630)
        > Why should we think this is anythign but a scam?

        So, what you're trying to say is:

        [Morbo]
        "Windmills do not work that way!"
        [/Morbo]

        Chris Mattern
        • Re:Interested.... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @04:08PM (#17819238)
          I do not believe this is a scam - roughly 15 years ago or so a bunch of guys and me built a couple of scale models of vertical mills with aerofoil blades generating lift, the mill both faced windward in whatever direction the wind decided to come from as well as spun faster than a bat out of hell to put it mildly, quite a lot faster than the windspeed if built correctly is quite possible - These mills will basically blaze away!!!

          Unfortunately we never got around to putting any form of electricity generation equipment or water/warmpumps rotor concept onto them as we planned (maelstroems/turbolence in the water to extract the potential energy)

            - We have for years been putting off finishing the half built full size mill parked in the basement, maybe it's time to find the right bearings that can take the correct angle of pressure etc. and slam that hunk of junk together and start generating some $$$ from the savings as well as doing something right for the environment.

          And the neat thing is that we have independent witnesses from several countries who can back us up regarding what we built and the principles involved so there will be no patent BS to stop us from doing whatever we'd like with our concept.

          So No - I do not for one second believe this might be a scam, but I hope the guy simply decides to share his idea freely as his earnings will be far higher than mere money when the chips fall. Heck he could surely make quite some cash if he spoke to the right people - no need for patents - just get production started - If the concept is as revulutionizing as the article mentions then the need will far exceed production capabilities anyway - plenty to take from.

          He could in life as well as later be remembered as a pioneer - And if the concept is realized as a stroke of genious - people might just listen to the next thing he might hatch.

          Just my two cents...
      • by jmorris42 (1458) *
        > Why should we think this is anythign but a scam?

        Even better, this quote from the last paragraph:

        " ...and the Whissons need some initial government funding to get their ideas off the ground."

        Sure sign of a scam, when they know even the idiot investors, who will fall for pyramid schemes and MLM scams, won't buy in the scammers ALWAYS demand the government 'invest' in a new tech that will "save the world."

        No, if the tech is real and has the potential of being buildable at a cost effective price private in
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Just another deranged green who has an irrational fear of the N word who would rather see the money pissed away on a pet project instead of actually solving the problem of dependence on non renewable energy sources often from unstable despotic countires.

          But I live in the USA. How am I supposed to buy my power from someone else?

      • by pizzaman100 (588500) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @03:00PM (#17818320) Journal
        Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your air here is only MOSTLY dry. There's a big difference between mostly dry and all dry. Mostly dry is slightly wet. -Magical Max
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BoRegardless (721219)
        Whisson; Maxwell Edmund has at least 15 U.S. patents issued over 20 years.

        Easy to check for yourself. Unfortunately that does not give info on air-water systems, and there is no info in searching the Patent Applications yet.

        If you want to get water out of air, you need to cool a surface to condense out water or reduce the air pressure to cause RH to go to 100% to condense out @ ambient temperature, or you can use hygroscopic materials to absorb water directly out of the air, but then you have to extract th
    • See, this is why wind power can't power all of humanity's needs.

      Firstly, to get that much power would, quite literally, suck the energy from the atmosphere, and would really start to mess with global weather, changing jet streams and such. Secondly, this method sucks water from the air, which would no doubt have a much faster, and more drastic, effect on the weather. There has not been any large-scale long-term testing of this, which I would recommend before we start putting them up everywhere, and cha

  • Dune (Score:5, Funny)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:45PM (#17817172) Homepage Journal
    Wow. Reminds me of the Windtraps from Frank Herbert's Dune.

    Next thing you know, we'll be harvesting spice.
  • Free Dry Land! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nbannerman (974715) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:45PM (#17817180)
    Excellent, so now anyone living near, but not in a city can enjoy a barren landscape when the rain no longer falls.

    Alright, sarcasm aside, surely there are bound to be some less-than-good effects on the surrounding enviroment if large amounts of water are 'sucked' out of the atmosphere prematurely?
    • Re:Free Dry Land! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @02:03PM (#17817476)
      I was originally inclined to agree with you, until I thought about the fact that populated areas already interfere with the environment to a noticable degree. You have air conditioners making the outdoor air warmer and removing humidity. You have concrete and pavement that artificially hold heat way after sundown and much longer than normal soil would, and on and on.

      I can't see how a few hundred of these things, placed strategically would have any more of a negative impact than these factors. In fact, they could potentially be a sort of a civilization mitigator in a way. Someone please correct me if my thinking is wrong here.
    • Same Galaxy, Not-in-the-too-distant-future ... Somewhere in the Great Victorian Desert

      Uncle Dundee: Oy! have you seen bloody Max this mornin?
      Aunt Maxine: Aye, he said that he had some things to do before he started, so the wanker left early.
      Uncle Dundee: Did he take those two new bloody droids with him?
      Aunt Maxine: Aye matey.
      Uncle Dundee: Well, that nong better have those bloody [wind-to-water] units in the South Ridge repaired by m'day, or there'll be bloody hell to pay . . . give me a vegemite wench!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thehickcoder (620326) *
      I think there is a misconception in the way I have seen many people think of "using" water. We use it but we don't "use it up." There is with small exceptions almost the same amount of water on the planet as there was thousands or ten thousands of years ago. The problem is that in some areas not enough of it is in a form we can use (water vapor, salt water, ice, etc.) This device simply converts it from a form we can't use to one we can.
      We then can use it and it flows down the drain/comes off our skin a
      • 'Using it up' is probably a bad way of saying 'removing it from the atmosphere earlier than normal'. Imagine you own a farm, and you require a certain amount of rainfall per annum for your crops. If the big city 40 miles away invests in this technology and does (and obviously we've got no real idea what the large scale effects are yet) disrupt your annual rainfall, you've got to find that water from elsewhere. You could use the local river, but then you have to deal with irrigation etc.

        The water never di
    • Re:Free Dry Land! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by CodeShark (17400) <ellsworthpc@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @03:54PM (#17818980) Homepage
      Actually, this is most likely not true.

      Here's why: Assume for the sake of argument that you can remove 20% of the water vapor over the 2-1/2 or so Meters above your house in a given day. And that all the houses in the big city do the same thing. Most of the water will go where? down the toilet or sink eventually, or perhaps be put into a garden, etc. where much of the moisture will re-evaporate. Now then, a reasonable assumption is that what goes down the toilet or sink gets put through the local sewage treatment plant or into a local septic field -- where, guess what -- it re-evaporates.

      Secondarily, that 2-1-/2 meters of 20% more-dehumidified air is only maybe 1/100th of what is available under the weather, but even so, as the moisture re-distributes from the other 99%, assume it generates a little wind. Ultimately pulls say 1% more moist air in from the sea, soaks up some heat in the atmosphere, but if there is a constant drain that moisture will keep coming toward your city. Providing more wind energy to produce power and rain, etc. Not dry areas.

      Let me know what you think.

  • by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:46PM (#17817196) Homepage Journal

    Anything that creates lift creates a lower pressure, which in turn refrigerates, and eventually induces condensation.

    A Mere Matter of Programming to model an aerodynamic shape that maximizes condensation and captures the resulting droplets.

    --dave

    • New invention: air-windmill refrigeration.

      "Honey, could you climb up the refrigerator and get the milk for me please?"

      Sounds fun..
    • by Scott7477 (785439)
      and conversely, high pressure heats and induces evaporation. The statement from the article that "but there's almost as much invisible moisture in the air above the Sahara or the Nullarbor as there is in the steamy tropics" is correct due to the existence of persistent high pressure over those areas. So I am optimistic that this technology might actually turn into a viable product.

      The other water production scheme mentioned in the article proposing to "channel seawater to inland communities...a brilliant s
  • Wow. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by foxtrot (14140) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:49PM (#17817230)
    We can now turn the Australian Outback into Tattooine. We now have vaporators!
  • Your vaporizers are no longer vaporware.
  • they're arranged vertically, within an elegant column, and take the wind from any direction.
    I saw something like this on a kiddie science show around 1980.
  • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:50PM (#17817254) Homepage
    [Max] Whisson's design has many blades, each as aerodynamic as an aircraft wing,

    Yeah, but you know Schick is just going to add one more blade and totally steal his marketshare.
  • Bad idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:51PM (#17817278)

    One small Whisson windmill on the roof of a suburban house could keep your taps flowing. Biggies on office buildings, whoppers on skyscrapers, could give independence from the city's water supply.

    And enough of them and the humidity of the air will drop, reducing all of these miracle machines to a trickle. Probably not good for the local plant and wildlife, too. Rain is important.

    • If you put the condensors where moist air usually flows out to sea or over a lake it will just suck up moisture from the body of water, resulting in no reduced rainfall over land. Places with high humidity might see no difference in rainfall, since it'd be hard to extract water faster than water gets added naturally.
      • Here is Florida, we typically get one hour of hard rainfall (3pm-4pm) every day in the summer. Unfortunately, the ground can't soak-up that much water, that quickly, so most of it runs into streams and lakes (and our man-made "drainage retention areas"). Any water that we take out of the air before the 3pm downpour could be used more effectively, even if it is just dumped onto fields slowly.
      • by sckeener (137243)
        If you put the condensers where moist air usually flows out to sea or over a lake it will just suck up moisture from the body of water, resulting in no reduced rainfall over land. Places with high humidity might see no difference in rainfall, since it'd be hard to extract water faster than water gets added naturally.

        Exactly. I was thinking Houston would love these. I'd love a dry heat in August instead of what we get normally. All new houses must carry these to reduce humidity!
  • by Attila (23211)
    What I really need is a droid that understands its language.
  • My aunt & uncle live in Wisconsin and they use geothermal energy to heat their house. A pump sends water out along tubes underground that they've laid beneath 7 layers of different things. It was expensive to set up but during the winter, they don't spend a dime on heat. There's a glorified water heater that extracts the heat from the water and transfers it into a separate set of pipes that run underneath the cement in their basement. I'm probably missing some of the details and I can't remember th
  • sum zero gain (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jsepeta (412566) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:56PM (#17817366) Homepage
    the article states that with these windmills, water will be replenished into the air from the oceans. how do we know this? how was this proven?

    and if the water content of oceans diminishes, the salt content increases proportionately. that would threaten to bring dramatic change to the fragile balance of the environment for marine life.

    when man plays with mother nature, we almost inevitably come out on the losing end.
    * drain the swamps in new orleans, then lose 60% of the land's ability to absorb water.
    * introduce pest-killing amphibians to the everglades, then they procreate without preditors and wipe out existing species.
    * water the deserts of nevada to make lush golf courses, then people in colorado go thirsty and firemen can't put out historically large forest fires covering hundreds of thousands of acres.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      All true, but for the last. We shouldn't have golf courses in the desert, but we should let fires burn on a more regular basis. Also, I don't think people should be living in Colorado unless they trap furs for trading for whiskey.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How do we know this? Because anyone with an elementary background in physics knows that drier air absorbs moisture more readily. So when these mills dry out the air, the dried air is intrinsically better suited to absorbing moisture. Given that the ocean covers a proportionately larger area of the globe, a reasonable assumption is that most of the moisture absorbed into the air would come from the ocean.

      As for the FUD about salt content increasing, there are two *huge* flaws in that line of reasoning:
      1.
    • Re:sum zero gain (Score:4, Informative)

      by Waffle Iron (339739) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @02:15PM (#17817686)

      and if the water content of oceans diminishes, the salt content increases proportionately

      Umm, any water collected by these things would end up either: (a) re-evaporating locally or (b) running into a river. In the first case, there's no net change in water distribution. In the second case, the fresh water ultimately ends up in an ocean, restoring the salinity levels.

      At any rate, we've been mining huge amounts of water out of ancient aquifers for decades without worrying about ocean salinity. But that is still an insignificant drop in the bucket compared to the real impact on salinity: the massive influx of fresh water that is currently coming from from melting polar ice.

    • when man plays with mother nature, we almost inevitably come out on the losing end.
      This is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard said on slashdot. Fuck, it's about the dumbest thing I've ever heard anywhere.
    • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @03:37PM (#17818748) Homepage
      I hope the parent comment was a joke, but if not, please take a look at this site:

      http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/waterdistribution.htm l [usgs.gov]

      The oceans contain 96.5% of the water on the Earth. The soil moisture, which is what we would like to increase, contains 0.001% of the water. Even if you doubled the soil moisture with this technique, the the oceans would still contain 96.5% of the water. The change is simply too small to register on the same scale. So don't worry about the salt balance of the oceans.

      Almost all the moisture taken from the atmosphere would btw end right back in the atmosphere again, as evapotranspiration. But in the process, it would allow plants to grow.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by StikyPad (445176)
      Okay, just a few counterpoints here..

      water will be replenished into the air from the oceans. how do we know this? how was this proven?

      Air can only hold a certain amount of water, known as the saturation point. Saturation is the reason water stops evaporating, not the speed of the evaporation process. That is to say, if the air is drier, evaporation will easily keep up to bring it back to the saturation point. The humidity will be replenished, unless the sun stops shining.

      if the water content of oceans di
  • by Lazerf4rt (969888) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:57PM (#17817384)

    Does this country face a more urgent issue? Will the world have a greater problem? While we watch our dams dry, our rivers die, our lakes and groundwater disappear...

    Forgive me for being unaware of this impending catatrophe, but is there really an urgent issue? Is this mainly happening in Australia? I thought floods were going to be the next big problem, due to global warming.

    What should I be bracing myself for? Floods or droughts? I need to know what I should panic about. Thanks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If you live on the edge of a desert (as some Australians do) you need to worry about drought. If you live near the seashore (as the rest of the Australians do) you need to worry about flooding. That's the funny thing about global warming- it affects different climate regions differently. The only constant is it will change *all* climate areas in some way.
      • by Panaflex (13191) *
        It can all be fixed with Global Hugging though...
        • No, actually, Global PLANTING- which is why one suggestion in TFA is so incredibly interesting. Use this device to get water to the desert, where you plant trees- that suck carbon out of the atmosphere and use that carbon to build leaves, which slow more air down and cause more rain, which gives you more water for planting trees and sucks more carbon out of the atmosphere.

          Neat trick if we can get on it.
    • by nathanh (1214)

      Forgive me for being unaware of this impending catatrophe, but is there really an urgent issue? Is this mainly happening in Australia?

      In Australia? Yes, we are in yet another round of nationwide droughts. This is pretty typical for Australia. We're one of the driest countries on the planet.

      What should I be bracing myself for? Floods or droughts? I need to know what I should panic about. Thanks.

      In Australia? Both. Droughts last about 5 years, then a catastrophic flood kills off whatever managed t

    • by Evil Pete (73279)

      I live in Brisbane, Queensland. Our dams are projected to run out of water within 2 years if the drought continues (it has been going for years already). The inland is much much worse. The other Australian cities are slightly better off. E.g. Sydney still have their dams at 30% full, whereas ours are at under 23% triggering a new level of water restrictions (by the end of next year the dams are projected to be at 5%) ... want to wash your car? Use only a bucket because all use of hoses is banned. That is li

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @01:58PM (#17817398)
    Compare the volume of air that any good-sized unit can draw moisture from (and assuming 100% efficiency which is BS) to the total volume of air passing across the area. That's like saying too many windmills will stop the wind blowing. Stop smoking crack.
  • vaporware (Score:3, Funny)

    by CDS (143158) on Tuesday January 30, 2007 @02:03PM (#17817474)
    Sounds like vaporware to me... just a lot of hot air...
  • "Man invents windstill [wikipedia.org]"
  • Vertical axis windmills are not new. They have a nasty habit of shaking themselves to death.

    As for getting water out of air, using desiccants [off-grid.net] sounds more promising.

  • Venturi Effect (Score:2, Interesting)

    For some reason, the technology described just reminds me of a venturi nozzle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venturi [wikipedia.org]
  • When you pull water out of the air, you change the downstream environment substantially. Hot dry winds suck the moisture out of what they pass over, the ground, plants, etc, and things burn.

    Knowing how this will affect down flow areas is critical, lest they create more problems than they fix.

    Just a FYI.
  • Rather ironic that the supposedly unrelated "fortune" displayed with this story (lower right corner of page) is "Fremen add life to spice!"

    (OBexplaination: "Fremen" & "spice" being a reference to the book "Dune" (which you HAVE read, right? no?) which makes a big deal of harvesting moisture.)
  • Call me stupid, but...

    If global warming causes icecaps to melt and enter the global water system,
    and this machine removes water from the system,
    then I think I may have just solved global warming. (patent pending)
  • With three or four of Max's magical machines on hills at our farm we could fill the tanks and troughs, and weather the drought.

    No pun intended?
  • My guess is this thing pumps water from surface level, into the ground, and back up to surface level through thin copper tubing (the thinner and more coiled the more surface area) while air is forced by these coils. Easy to power and it should work well enough for a decent amount of water to condense on the coils. Either this or a similar idea using the peltier effect.

    Equip one of these with solar panels to bring in even more power and you might be onto something, although I have the same questions about
  • Understand that moisture content in the air is established by temperature and pressure. There is water in Australia, its just not dropping out of the sky. If you extract moisture from the air, then when that air is in the presence of liquid water it will induce some evaporation. That being said, this system could work either by using the reduced pressure from the airfoil surface or more likely by actually creating some compression and then having a decompression path for the air that goes through a condens

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