Water Generators may just be one of those technologic cards Governor Jerry Brown may have in his hand to play while leading the golden state out of drought today as he will hold a press conference to discuss Ecosystem Restoration and Water Infrastructure today Thursday April 30 2015 in Oakland.
Water Generators: Are they California’s alternative to desalination plants?
Environmentalists have quietly begun to take notice of the simple idea of short circuiting the hydrologic system in order to pull water out of the air- especially those along the coast who endure foggy mornings. We asked Henri-James Tieleman President & CEO of Ecolo Blue about his water generator manufactured in Pacheco, CA.
What is a water generator and how does it work?
Tieleman: “The machine generates water from the humidity in the air, through the process of gas exchange between a compressor and a condenser. Condensate collects on the condenser, and creates your unfiltered water supply. The water then proceeds through a 12 step filtration process to make the water 99.9% pure.” See the diagram here .
….are they basically dehumidifiers with purification systems?
Tieleman: “Water generators are more complicated than dehumidifiers. Our machines are designed to create the most water possible from the least humidity.”
…but this is California- we don’t have humidity, right?
Tieleman: “You might be surprised. The average yearly relative humidity as scientists define and measure it always find the coastal state with as between 40 and 85%.”
Are these water generators actively being marketed and or to what extent are research and development dollars being sought after?
Tieleman: “Yes, they are actively marketed and extensive R&D has taken place to increase the water generation vs. energy consumption within a similar structure.”
“We have not applied to any funds at this time, and do not know if we would even qualify due to the various water state regulations that constraint such a water generation for the end-consumer. While it is completely legal to sell from B to C perspective, it is not from a cross connection to municipal water perspective at this time.”
How small and large can these water generators be designed for?
The smallest machine we can produce will generate up to 8 gallons a day, and the largest we can produce will generate up to 2500 gallons in a 24 hours period. Over 100,000 gallon of water per day can be generated with solar or mix of any other alternative energies. See video.
How many gallons and or liters per day can a typical generator produce, and what would this cost?
Tieleman: “The cost is dictated by the cost of energy and the climatic situation where the machine is located. The better the temperature and humidity, the least energy the units will consume.”
Was the initial research done by the military?
Tieleman: “Many tests were conducted by the US National Guard at Travis Air Force Base. The US military currently spends $1M USD per 50 soldiers per year on water; and by using our product, they would only spend $300K USD. This cost analysis was performed internally from the National Guard.”
Could widespread adoption of water generators be an alternative to municipalities having to construct desalination plants?
Tieleman: “There are only so many water sources available: Aquifer/underground Water; lakes/sea Water; snow/rain; and air. If any or all of these options are not available to you, the question is how else would you source Water?”
According to the Santa Barbara Channel Keeper, water produced by desalination is very expensive, with an average price per acre-foot that is four to eight times higher than water from other sources. Estimates for plants proposed in California range from $1,900 to more than $3,000 per acre-foot. But experience from around the world suggests these cost estimates are optimistic, and they do not reflect increases from the predictable rise in energy costs.”
Nor the environmental costs of stripping the ocean water of its salt and subsequently affecting marine life.
Tieleman: “Today, we can sustain the same amount of volume of Water as a desalination plant for free, using alternative energy and EcoloBlue Water Stations. Alternative energy can of course be used for desalination as well, though, without any ecological impact. We are merely forcing the continuation of the natural water cycle, and “making it rain”. Not to mention the flexibility of scale, and speed to build our products, which is far more competitive than building a desalination plant. Desalination has a catastrophic ecological impact, whose cost is conveniently forgotten or not taken into consideration.”
Where can we see a unit in operation?
Tieleman: “EcoloBlue has over 10,000 customers in the U.S. alone, who consume water daily from our home/office units. Anyone is welcome to come to our office in Pacheco and test our home/office unit, as well as our mobile industrial unit, designed for the U.S. National Guard. This particular unit can generate over 250 gallons of Water per day.”
Are there any permits or legislation created as to how these water generators can be used, would they ever subtract enough moisture out of the air to harm any local hydrologic cycle or water shed?
Tieleman: “There are no permits needed, if the unit is to be used as a standalone unit. If attached or cross-connected with municipal water, permits are needed, which we are in the process of acquiring. See this press release: No extensive studies have been done on the extraction of moisture from the air. In our opinion, we don’t believe there will be any harm done to the environment, no matter how many units are being used. The units are just helping to contribute to the natural water cycle.”