Home Ventilation system Machine that promises to transform the air into drinking water arriving at Port SA

Machine that promises to transform the air into drinking water arriving at Port SA


In Port San Antonio, a device the size of a sea container promises to fulfill a utopian dream: to make water out of thin air.

The high-tech business park on the southwest side will serve as a proving ground for the atmospheric water generation project developed by Genesis Systems, a Tampa, Fla.-Based start-up and led by the husband duo and wife David and Shannon. Stückenberg.

The unit will be on display as a demonstration project as part of the larger Tech Port Center + Arena, which is expected to be completed next year. The center will serve as an educational space, museum and esports arena.

The water produced by the Genesis Systems unit will power green spaces and a community garden on the port campus, said Jim Perschbach, CEO of Port San Antonio.

“We will not only display this technology, but research will be carried out to expand it and reduce the cost of energy,” said Perschbach. “At the same time, we can bring students through the museum, we can have scientists (coming) from local research institutes.”

The system works by filtering the air and mixing it with a sponge-like “nanofluid” that binds to water particles in the air. The dried air is evacuated, the water and fluid are separated, and the machine pumps clean water. The nanofluid is returned to the chamber to be reused.

Filling a need

Atmospheric water production is a potential solution to the growing demand for drinking water worldwide. More than 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water, and global demand is expected to continue to grow by 1% each year, according to the United Nations.

Growing demand and dwindling water supplies drove water prices up in cities across the United States Between 2010 and 2018, the average cost of water to households in San Antonio increased by 64 %, according to Circle of Blue, which reports on food and water in the world. and energy resources.

David Stuckenberg, COO of Genesis Systems, co-founded the company with his wife, Shannon, who is CEO.

Genesis / Tim Ventura Systems

Scientists have for years sought to extract water from the air to combat water insecurity, and Genesis Systems says its system can produce more water at a lower price than its competitors using d other technologies.

The promise of the Genesis system is that a single 15-ton unit can be transported in any climate – including arid deserts or remote locations without water – and produce up to 1,000 gallons per day of water. clean using a solar, wind or geothermal system. process, said Neil Allen, vice president of operations and business development for the company.

That’s enough for about four Texas households, according to data from Texas Living Waters, which indicates the average consumption per household is around 270 gallons.

If the company figured out how to power its units with renewable energy, “scaling already makes economic sense today,” Allen said. “If we can set the power equation lower than what we have now… we have something that you can put literally anywhere in the world. “

A study published in January by a group of university researchers found that drawing water from the atmosphere “offers multiple ecological, health and economic benefits” by making it possible to produce water anywhere without the constraints of water. transport. And unlike desalination, atmospheric water generators do not produce a by-product like saline water.

Challenges remain

But the researchers found that the technology for producing atmospheric water has yet to develop before it can tackle large-scale water insecurity.

Compared to bottled water, water generators are likely to be cheaper and more durable. But water production units produce more in summer than in winter, and the amount of water produced depends on the environment in which they are located. A unit in a more humid location would spit out more water, for example.

And for now, the cost of manufacturing large quantities of water from production units is prohibitive. According to the study, piped water infrastructure provides water at a much lower price.

Atmospheric water production “cannot be marketed as a financially viable replacement for tap water,” the authors wrote. “The AWG’s potential contributions to solving the global water crisis would be very limited, at least for the foreseeable future. “

Genesis products

It’s not clear when Genesis units will be commercially available, but the company will likely have three product lines for different system sizes. Customers could include remote communities, military installations, or customers in agricultural and manufacturing environments, Allen said.

“Traditional water sources from rivers, lakes, streams and aquifers (…) are not sustainable,” he said. “We want to continue to evolve this technology to create a pure and reliable source of water that is not traditional.”

While the cost is high at the moment, Genesis Systems units may become more attractive in comparison as demand and prices for water from traditional sources continue to increase, Allen said.

Company management includes Steven Kwast, a former Air Force general and combat pilot with a resume and colorful background. Kwast, who was raised in a remote tribe in Cameroon, where water is scarce, holds a master’s degree in politics from Harvard, served as military assistant to former Vice President Al Gore and previously was named the best pilot in the air force. He is president of Genesis Systems.

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It was Kwast’s ties to San Antonio that led Genesis Systems to place its first unit in the city. He previously headed Air Education and Training Command in San Antonio, and he and David Stuckenberg – also a former fighter pilot – worked with Port San Antonio during their days in the Air Force, according to Allen.

The demonstration unit is due to start producing water in San Antonio for the fountains and landscaping of the new center next spring.

“Our vision is to solve the world’s water scarcity in a sustainable way,” Allen said. “It’s ambitious and daring, but it is achievable.

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