As populations grow around the world so too does the demand for water. Globally, 700 million people in 43 countries suffer from water scarcity. Current climate change models show shifts in weather could leave half the world’s population with not enough water. In areas that are already arid some 24 to 700 million people could be displaced.
Clearly, we need to find a solution. As we have seen in the past decade, young designers often have the answer. Kristof Retezár is one such innovator. An industrial designer from Austria, he designed the Fontus, a self-filling water bottle.
The Fontus was envisioned as a small, compact and self-sufficient device that takes humid air, separates water molecules from air molecules, and the resulting water droplets are stored in a bottle.
The Fontus then is based around the simple principal of condensation. Inside of the Fontus is a cooler known as a Peltier Element, basically a thermoelectric heat pump. This device is powered by a battery and solar panel. When running, heat is drawn from one side to the cooler side. When warm air hits the cooler surface, it reaches its dew point and condenses. This leaves droplets of water that run into the bottle.
This method works best when there is moving air. A fan could be incorporated, but that would add complexity and draw more energy. Bikes, however, are one of the most widespread means of transportation in the world. Especially in developing nation. With this knowledge in hand there is an opportunity to bring fresh water to people as they travel across long or short distances in rural or urban areas.
There are drawbacks. Currently the design works best between 86 and 104 degree Fahrenheit, with humidity of 80 to 90%. While designed to keep bugs and dust from contaminating the water, smaller sediment is still a problem. Future designs may incorperate a small carbon filter.
Still, their ambition to develop a higher quality of life for people in need with a simple device is admirable. While not currently available to the public, the Fontus may be made available through a crowdfunding campaign first. Their target price is under $100.