March 27, 2013

An advertising billboard that produces water? Strange as it sounds, that is exactly what is happening in a dry, desert area just outside Lima, Peru.  The Spanish words on this billboard read: "A billboard that produces drinkable water from air. It’s imagination in action."

A new engineering college opened there just last year, and they were trying to figure out a way to attract students. When they started thinking about how to grab the attention of future engineers, they decided to put "imagination into action" and show that it is possible to solve people’s everyday problems through engineering and technology.

Here’s how it works. This is a very dry, desert area where some people do not have access to clean drinking water, though they are surrounded by salty seawater. The inside of the billboard has machines that extract water from the humidity in the air, store it in tanks, and filter out the salt to make it drinkable. The water then flows down a pipe to a faucet that anyone can use. The blue words on the pole that say "Agua. Aquí" means "Water. Here!" with an arrow pointing down at the faucet. So far, this single billboard is producing about 25 gallons (96 liters) of drinkable water every day. 

This is just one project, but it shows what we can do by applying our human imagination to figuring out how to use the resources around us to meet everyone’s needs.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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