Which of these things will happen first: pigs flying, creating water out of thin air, or the Chicago Cubs winning a world series? Some of you might have guessed the third option, but you would be wrong. Steve Bartman, anyone?
Element Four, a small Canadian firm, has applied its water technology to create the WaterMill, a novel electricity-powered machine that draws moisture from the air and purifies it into clean, drinkable water.
In a world where one out of five people are without access to clean drinking water, this new technology could potentially improve the lives of billions of people from third-world countries.
The WaterMill, which retails at $1300, is intended for household use only, but the company is designing a larger version called the WaterWall for the developing world, which would be large enough to supply water to a small village.
It’s early, but the company’s core principle is “to do good as we do well,” CEO Rick Howard says. “That’s part of truly what drives us — knowing that at some point we will be able to do some significant good.”
Read more at CNN online.
If just 0.3% of the Sahara Desert was used as a concentrating solar plant, it would produce enough clean power to provide all of Europe with clean renewable energy. That is why 20 German companies are gathering next month to discuss plans and investments to carry out a 400 billion-Euro project proposed by the Desertec Foundation, to erect 100 GW of concentrating solar power plants throughout North Africa.
Instead of constructing the entire project in just one location, Desertec plans to scatter the plants throughout several politically stable countries. The power generated would be transported over high-voltage DC lines across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, where it would supply 15% of the energy demand.
Along with providing clean energy, this project also aims at providing fresh drinking water and farming the desolate desert region by building desalination plants that will use concentrated solar power to provide energy and waste heat to create freshwater from seawater.
Even though the project is still 10-15 years away from breaking ground, several major players are getting involved.
Read more at inhabitat.com.
Colleague and friend F. Mark Modzelewski has founded the Water Innovations Alliance (WIA), a new industry association focused on developing new funding, reducing regulatory barriers, increasing collaboration and raising awareness for cutting-edge water technologies and the problems they solve.
The WIA will serve as a platform to improve awareness and collaboration between large companies, engineering firms, universities, utilities, start-ups, NGOs and governments — exposing all key stakeholders to new water technologies, innovations and prospects. Whether the developments be in materials, IT, engineering, financing or public policy, the Alliance will spotlight the developments and provide best practices across the spectrum of the water industry.
Mark has launched several successful venture funds based in the U.S. and Europe. In 2002, he co-founded the Nanotechology Business Alliance and has consulted leading technology companies including Yahoo!, Pixas, and Mastercard. I had a chance to work with Mark as colleagues in the NY office of Golin/Harris, a strategic PR firm.