FONTUS: Making Water Out of Thin Air

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Imaging taking an excruciatingly long bicycle ride without once stopping for water.  Thanks to Kristof Retezar, an industrial designer from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, your water bottle will fill up on its own.  Fontus is a self-filling water bottle for your bicycle.  This device collects the moisture contained in the air, condenses it and stores it as safe drinking water.  Powered by solar cells, it can harvest up to .5 liters within an hour under the right climate conditions.

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Retezar’s Fontus system, which is competing for a James Dyson Award, is a sleek, two piece gadget that attaches to a bike’s frame.  When a cycle is in motion, air is funnelled into the top holster and distributed over a “condensing structure.” A solar powered cooling element then turns it into moisture that drips down a pipe into a detachable water bottle.  The great thing about this is that any half liter PET bottle will work.  To achieve condensation, one must cool hot, humid air down.  The device has a small cooler installed in its center called Peltier Element.  When powered by electricity, the upper side cools down and the bottom side gets hot.  The more you cool the hot side down, the colder the upper side will get.  The air enters the bottom chamber at a high speed when moving forward with the bike and cools the hot side down.  Droplets then flow through a pipe into a bottle.

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Retezar’s goal was to create a small, compact and self-sufficient device able to absorb humid air, separate water molecules from air molecules and store water in liquid form in a bottle.  There are two areas where this device can be applied.  It can be used as a sporty bike accessory, useful for long bike tours or it could be a way to acquire freshwater in regions where groundwater is scarce but air humidity is high.  Water scarcity may be the most underestimated resource issue facing the world today.  The designer is hoping that this device will help the future of our world.