Friday May 24, 2019
Home World Californian C...

Californian Couple Develops A Way That Allows To Make Water From Air

Doss-Hertz prepared to leave for a photo shoot and a visitor sampled a glass of their freshly made water.

0
//
water, girls
The Skysource/Skywater Alliance co-founders David Hertz, right, and his wife Laura Doss-Hertz demonstrate how the Skywater 300 turns air into water, in Los Angeles. VOA

It started out modestly enough: David Hertz, having learned that under the right conditions you really can make your own water out of thin air, put a little contraption on the roof of his California office and began cranking out free bottles of H2O for anyone who wanted one.

Soon he and his wife, Laura Doss-Hertz, were thinking bigger — so much so that this week the couple won the $1.5 million XPrize For Water Abundance. They prevailed by developing a system that uses shipping containers, wood chips and other detritus to produce as much as 528 gallons (2,000 liters) of water a day at a cost of no more than 2 cents a quart (1 liter).

The XPrize competition, created by a group of philanthropists, entrepreneurs and others, has awarded more than $140 million over the years for what it calls audacious, futuristic ideas aimed at protecting and improving the planet. The first XPrize, for $10 million, went to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and aviation pioneer Burt Rutan in 2004 for SpaceShipOne, the first privately financed manned space flight.

When Hertz learned a couple of years ago that a prize was about to be offered to whoever could come up with a cheap, innovative way to produce clean freshwater for a world that doesn’t have enough of it, he decided to go all in.

Ebola, UNICEF. congo, DNA, water
A boy runs past a dispenser containing water mixed with disinfectant, east of Mbandaka, DRC. VOA

At the time, his little water-making machine was cranking out 150 gallons a day, much of which was being given to homeless people living in and around the alley behind the Studio of Environmental Architecture, Hertz’s Venice Beach-area firm that specializes in creating green buildings.

He and his wife, a commercial photographer, and their partner Richard Groden, who created the smaller machine, assembled The Skysource/Skywater Alliance and went to work. They settled on creating little rainstorms inside shipping containers by heating up wood chips to produce the temperature and humidity needed to draw water from the air and the wood itself.

“One of the fascinating things about shipping containers is that more are imported than exported, so there’s generally a surplus,” said Hertz, adding they’re cheap and easy to move around.

And if there’s no wood chips around for heat, coconut husks, rice, walnut shells, grass clippings or just about any other such waste product will do just fine.

“Certainly in regions where you have a lot of biomass, this is going to be a very simple technology to deploy,” said Matthew Stuber, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Connecticut and expert on water systems who was one of the panel’s judges.

Water
The XPrize trophy is seen at The Skysource/Skywater Alliance offices in Los Angeles, Oct. 24, 2018. VOA

He called their water-making machine a “really cool” merging of rather simple technologies that can be used to quickly deliver water to regions hit by natural disasters or stricken by drought, or even rural areas with a shortage of clean water.

Hertz and Doss-Hertz are just starting to contemplate how to accomplish that.

Theirs was among 98 teams from 27 countries who entered the competition. Many teams were bigger and better funded, while the couple mortgaged their Malibu home to stay in the game. At one point, they were told they hadn’t made the final round of five, but one team dropped out and they were back in.

“If you say we were the dark horse in the race, we weren’t even in the race,” Hertz recalled, smiling.

Also Read: Dusshera In Delhi Casts A Dark Blanket, Air Quality Worsens

He stood near a giant copy of the check in his office while Doss-Hertz prepared to leave for a photo shoot and a visitor sampled a glass of their freshly made water.

Now, though, they are in for the long, wet haul.

“There’s no restrictions whatsoever on how it’s used,” Hertz said of the prize money. “But Laura and I have committed to using it all for the development and deployment of these machines, to get them to people who need the water most. (VOA)

Next Story

Social Media Giant’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg Rejects The Claim ‘Time To Break Up Facebook’

Hughes maintains that lawmakers merely marvel at Facebook's explosive growth and have overlooked their own responsibility to protect the public through more competition.

0
In an opinion piece in The New York Times on Thursday, Hughes said the government must hold Mark (Zuckerberg) accountable. VOA

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected the call for breaking up his company, saying the size of Facebook was actually a benefit to its users and for the security of the democratic process.

In an interview with French broadcaster France 2, Zuckerberg dismissed the claim made by his long-time friend and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes that it is time to break up Facebook as Zuckerberg has yielded “unchecked power and influence” far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in the government.

“When I read what he wrote, my main reaction was that what he’s proposing that we do isn’t going to do anything to help solve those issues.

facebook
The Facebook case is being looked at as a measure of the Donald Trump administration’s willingness to regulate US tech companies. VOA

“So I think that if what you care about is democracy and elections, then you want a company like us to be able to invest billions of dollars per year like we are in building up really advanced tools to fight election interference,” Zuckerberg told France 2 while in Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.

In an opinion piece in The New York Times on Thursday, Hughes said the government must hold Mark (Zuckerberg) accountable.

“Mark’s personal reputation and the reputation of Facebook have taken a nose-dive,” wrote Hughes, who during his freshman year at Harvard University in 2002 was recruited by Zuckerberg for Facebook.

Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s budget for safety this year is bigger than the whole revenue of the company when it went public earlier this decade.

“A lot of that is because we’ve been able to build a successful business that can now support that. You know, we invest more in safety than anyone in social media,” reported TechCrunch, quoting Zuckerberg.

Hughes wrote that Zuckerberg has surrounded himself with a team that reinforces his beliefs instead of challenging them.

“Mark is a good, kind person. But I’m angry that his focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks,” he wrote.

In a separate opinion piece in the NYT on Sunday, Nick Clegg, who is the Vice President for global affairs and communications in Facebook, said that success should not be penalised.

“Facebook shouldn’t be broken up but it does need to be held to account,” Clegg wrote.

“Hughes maintains that lawmakers merely marvel at Facebook’s explosive growth and have overlooked their own responsibility to protect the public through more competition.

facebook
Embroiled in users’ data scandals, Facebook is set to create new privacy positions within the company that would include a committee, and external evaluator and a Chief Compliance Officer. Pixabay

“This argument holds dangerous implications for the American technology sector, the strongest pillar of the economy. And it reveals misunderstandings of Facebook and the central purpose of antitrust law,” Clegg argued.

Embroiled in users’ data scandals, Facebook is set to create new privacy positions within the company that would include a committee, and external evaluator and a Chief Compliance Officer.

Also Read: Countries Across Globe Unite For Establishing Legal Laws To Reduce Plastic Polluting Environment
Facebook has already kept aside $3 billion anticipating a record fine coming from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal which involved 87 million users.

The Facebook case is being looked at as a measure of the Donald Trump administration’s willingness to regulate US tech companies. (IANS)