Self-Filling Water Bottle Converts Humid Air into Drinkable Water
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
An Austrian industrial designer has just revolutionized the way cyclists stay hydrated. Meet Fontus, a water bottle that takes in moisture from the surrounding air and repurposes it as clean drinking water in under an hour.
Designed by Kristof Retezár, Fontus was originally created to aid people who live in water scarce areas, about 1.2 billion of the world’s population. Retezár original intent with the design was to make “something simple and portable,” without depending on a complex water purification system.
“This is simply condensation of the humidity that is contained in the air,” Retezár explained to Live Science. “You always have a certain percentage of humidity in the air, it doesn’t matter where you are — even in the desert. That means you would always potentially be able to extract that humidity from the air.”
The device works by passing humid air through a series of hydrophobic “teeth,” similar to toothbrush bristles. Those “teeth” turn the water vapor into real droplets, thanks to a small solar panel that rests on top of the Fontus bottle keeping the battery charged.
“Because they’re hydrophobic, they immediately repel the condensed water that they created, so you get a drop flow [into the bottle],” Retezár said. “Basically, you’re taking air in a vapor state and converting it into a liquid state.”
Fontus works best with temperatures between 86 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit with 80 to 90% humidity. With those ideal conditions, Fontus can produce about 0.5 quarts of water in about an hour.
The current prototype is still trying to figure out the kinks. The most recent one includes a filter to keep out dust and bugs from the top, but still does not have a way to filter possible harmful contaminants.
“The water you get is clean, unless the air is really contaminated,” Retezár explained. “We’re thinking about making a bottle that also has a carbon filter, and this one would be for cities or areas where you might think the air is contaminated. But originally, this water bottle was thought to be used in nature, and places where you wouldn’t have contaminated air.”
Fontus originally gained recognition when it was shortlisted for the 2014 James Dyson Award. Retezár is aiming to launch a crowdfunding campaign in March to keep the cost of the device down. If all goes according to plan, the device could retail for under $100 and will be available to buy in the next nine to 10 months.
Check out the video below to see how the whole process works!