Hydration is the key to maximum performance at any sport. Drinking enough water is the easiest and safest way to ensure that your body is operating the way it should, without putting any pressure on any of the vital organs. It is often, however, especially with outdoor sport activities, that people get carried away, not realizing how far they have gone, and how far the next place for water bottle refill is.
Kristof Retezàr, a promising Austrian designer at the James Dyson Foundation, has designed a solution for such occasions, which serves cyclists. The invention is Fontus, a solar-powered gadget, which attaches perfectly to a bicycle frame. As the bike moves, Fontus absorbs humid air, separates water from air molecules, and stores the moisture in a bottle.
Thanks to the solar cells and a Peltier system, a cooler with two chambers that boosts condensation, Fontus can harvest up to 0.5 l water in on hour. The principle behind the device is as follows: while cycling, air moves through the upper chamber of the cooler, and slows down due to a number of barriers. This causes the speed of airflow to drop, releasing water molecules pulled from the air. The water is then safely contained in a bottle, attached to the device, and it is ready to be drunk.
Now, there are a few limitations that still exist, which Retezàr is now trying to overcome. Firstly, as great as it is, the 0.5 l of water per hour is only achieved at perfect conditions, and it is not particularly sufficient for hot, humid days. What is more, the device is not recommended for use in urban areas, due to the heavy contaminants from the dirty air get in the water.
This technology is just one of the many that are aimed at extracting water from air. Although it is now designed for sports, developments in the way Fontus works, might lead to much greater achievements, especially with the water crisis that is now upon us.
Of course, Retezàr is not the only one working on this technology. Other examples include the solar-powered system by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology, and later on the technology by MIT scientists, that extracts water from fog.
Image (c) Kristof Retezàr