In a recent interview with Business Insider, Zero Mass Water CEO Cody Friesen talked about his company’s new groundbreaking device called Source. By absorbing and treating water vapor from the air, Source solar panels can generate 5 liters of water per day with the ability to store up to 30 liters of water for emergencies. According to Friesen, “the device uses sunlight to produce electricity and heat, which allows a set of proprietary materials to passively catch the humidity in the air.”
Zero Mass Water, a sustainable water startup, developed Source for the sole purpose of “democratizing drinking water.” “Water shouldn’t be something that you have to secure through a government source, through infrastructure, or by purchasing water at the store,” Friesen said. Zero Mass has created a material that passively absorbs moisture in the air. With an estimated 663 million people (10% of the world) lacking access to clean water, Source is a welcomed solar technology. Whether it’s being used in refugee camps in Jordan or as an alternative water source in Flint, Michigan, Source can be used in emergency situations.
“When you’re making solar energy, you have to use it or lose it unless you have a battery,” he says. “In our case, we’re storing solar energy in a glass.” Without the harnessing power of Tesla’s Powerwall 2 battery or SunCulture’s SolPad inverter, solar energy is depleted almost instantly. Capturing drinkable water, on the other hand, can be stored for an extended period of time as long as it’s treated properly. Source’s easy to install solar panels harvest the energy needed to evaporate the water to purify it. From there, the water runs through a mineral block – adjusting the pH balance – making it drinkable.
Comparing his company’s technology to grains of rice placed inside saltshakers, Friesen said, “Water binds more strongly to the rice grains to salt, which prevents the salt from getting damp and clumpy.” The material in a Source device absorbs water in a similar way. When asked if the 5 liters per day changes with climate, Friesen said, “Because the device depends on solar power, that number doesn’t vary too drastically between wet and dry climates – solar radiation is stronger in dry places where there are fewer water molecules in the air to absorb it, and water vapor is more prevalent in wet places where solar radiation is less intense.”
Whether the climate is dry or humid, Friesen’s device doesn’t need to be hooked up to a home’s electrical device, power grid, or connected to piping. It’s simply a solar panel resting on top of a metal box that stores up to 30 liters of water. The ease of set up makes Source an ideal solution whether drinkable water is needed in Flint, Michigan or in a Lebanese refugee camp.
As Futurism’s recent article featuring Zero Mass Water so eloquently concludes: “Instead of pipes in the ground, water, in the future, will be flowing from panels on your roof.”