An Invisible Blessing: A Billboard Generates Drinking Water out of Air



The high humidity level of Lima, Peru (which is around 83%) was always seen as a fact, but never a blessing. Better yet, it was never viewed as a potential solution to the water shortage that Lima is currently dealing with. As the second largest desert in the world, Lima sees very little annual rainfall and, according to a 2011 article in The Independent, 1.2 million of its residents lack running water. The humid conditions of Lima are now being put to good use, in the most unlikely of forms—a billboard.

Looking to create a splash to kick off its 2013 application period, The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) teamed up with ad agency Mayo DraftFCB to create a billboard that would convert the H2O-saturated air of Lima into potable water. What is the most amazing part of this invention? They actually succeeded.

With nothing more than a basic filtration system, humidity and ingenuity, this billboard produces around 26 gallons per day of potable water from the air. View the diagram below to get a feel for how this invention works.



This amazing billboard is located in the middle of the Peruvian desert, where clean drinking water is especially difficult to come by. According to Mayo DraftFCB, this modern marvel has produced around 2,500 gallons of water since the billboard was first erected in December of 2012. This invention requires an undisclosed amount of electricity to work, but many believe that if future models become self-sufficient using solar energy, then it could become both a viable and eco-friendly alternative.

As cool as this invention is, this is a sobering reminder of the harsh realities that many of the world’s population face from day to day. The need for fresh drinking water is a basic human necessity that is often left unmet. Whether your source of water is coming from a filtered water pitcher, or from a billboard, you need this precious resource to survive and to function properly in this Earth.

Only time will tell how feasible this invention can be at a larger scale and what adjustments (if any) would be needed. Do you see this becoming a viable solution down the road? Would you mind seeing one of these in your neighborhood? Don’t be shy. Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

Both images used in this blog are courtesy of