A multidisciplinary team of researchers from GE Research, the technology development arm for the Company (GE), have been selected by DARPA to lead a revolutionary project that could dramatically simplify the transport of potable water to troops in the field and address water scarcity around the world in a powerful new way. The team is calling the project AIR2WATER or Additively Manufactured, Integrated Reservoir To Extract Water using Adsorbents and Thermally-Enhanced Recovery.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, more than 1.1 billion people do not have access to water, and approximately 2.7 billion experience instances of water scarcity. GE researchers, together with top scientists and engineers from the University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago, and the University of South Alabama will develop and design a highly compact, portable device that literally can produce clean, safe water out of thin air.
The AIR2WATER device that GE is building will be a compact, light-weight prototype device that is light enough to be carried by soldiers for use at bases. The key technologies being used to produce potable water are sorbent materials to absorb the air and a unique 3D-enabled design of an additively-manufactured heat exchanger that effectively draws in heat over the sorbent materials to release the water.