Apr. 10, 2015 | By Simon

Although the recent drought in California has been making the news as of late, there are some places on Earth where this has been a fact of life for years.  When considering that less than 3% of the total water on the planet is actually drinkable fresh water, it would make sense that many engineers and scientists have been busy developing ways of creating fresh water from existing sources.  Among others who have been focusing on creating new ways of harvesting fresh water is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.  Gates famously drank water that previously contained human waste in a YouTube video earlier this year.  

Now, the Project Aquero initiative has developed an affordable way to harvest drinkable water using pre-existing moisture that lives within the atmosphere...and they’re able to further develop their product thanks to 3D printing.  

Described as an effort towards creating “the world’s first self-filling water bottle”, the development towards the project done thus far has already been declared as highly-successful.  Working with their prototypes, the team behind Project Aquero have been able to generate 50mL of water per hour in standard conditions of 80% relative humidity and 24°C.


“In a world where less than 2% of freshwater is drinkable, an alternative means of collection is necessary,” says the Project Aquero team.

“Aquero condenses vapor in the air into potable water. It is portable with a footprint not much larger than that of a standard refillable bottle. It is cost efficient, using key innovations and modern manufacturing to maintain low prices. It is effective, optimizing condenser technology to produce the greatest water yields.”

The process of creating drinkable water from within the atmosphere isn’t necessarily new, however compiling it into a portable solution is.  In order to create the drinkable water, the team has reengineered existing cooling and water production technology.

To capture the water, a small fan at the top of the bottle draws the warm and humid air into a plastic heatsink.  The change in temperature from warm to cool causes the moisture to condense onto a set of fins that allow for the resulting water droplets to funnel into the water collection reservoir.

The team was able to create the housing and internal components thanks to the affordable method of developing hardware using 3D printing.  Since the project started on a 3D printer, it is also possible to ensure that the final design is also able to be 3D printed - meaning that communities with low quantities of freshwater could theoretically produce their own water collection bottles if they have access to a 3D printer.  

Currently, the Project Aquero team is looking into ways of incorporating carbon filters that will not only allow the devices to collect freshwater, but filter it from any impurities as well.  Additional design considerations include utilizing PET plastic to facilitate solar bacterial irradiation as well as incorporating the use of a UV lightbulb that can also be used to help kill any bacteria that is compromising the quality of the water.    

In an effort to help push their development along, the Project Aquero team is accepting donations and is looking into the possibilities of creating a crowdfunding campaign that will allow not just those in need to own a piece of the technology, but others as well.   

The Project Aquero initiative is a perfect example of how additive manufacturing doesn’t just have to end at the development stage of a project but rather, it can also be a way of ensuring that low cost and reliable goods are able to be manufactured for everybody regardless of pre-existing circumstances.  Those who wish to help in the effort can head over to the Project Aquero donation page.   



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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jmevdruten@hotmail.com wrote at 4/14/2016 3:58:18 PM:

Simon ,how is MK 1 ?

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