MADRID – An estimated 750 million people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water. However, thanks to a Spanish invention, there is now a way to provide people in dry areas with drinking water.
The invention was the brainchild of the now 82-year-old engineer, Enrique Veiga. His machine condenses moisture from the air. The Spaniard developed the first prototype in 1990. At that time, southern Spain was struggling with extreme drought.
“The goal is to help people,” Veiga told Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. “We want to take this machine to places where there is no clean drinking water, such as refugee camps.” His company Aquaer has already supplied machines to communities in Namibia and to a Lebanese refugee camp. As a result, they now also have clean and safe drinking water.
Unique in its kind
The invention is based on the condensing system from an air conditioner. That is, the system uses electricity to cool the air, condense it and convert it into clean drinking water. A small machine produces between 50 and 75 litres per day, while larger versions can produce up to 5,000 litres per day. The small machines are also easy to transport.
“Our idea is not only to create a device that is efficient, but also useful for people who would otherwise have to walk miles to get water or dig wells,” explains Veiga.
There are other devices in the world that use a similar technology to produce water. But the difference is that those machines require high humidity and low ambient temperature. On the other hand, the Spanish invention works at temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius and already at a humidity level between 10% and 15%.
Veiga also inspires others with his invention. In 2017, after meeting Veiga, Vietnamese refugee Nhat Vuong founded a charity called Water Inception. Vuong’s goal is to further develop Veiga’s machine and bring it where it is needed most. He bought one of the machines and took it to a refugee camp in the Lebanese city of Tripoli. He also raises funds to install solar panels. This will help reduce electricity costs and reduce the project’s environmental impact.