This fall, Current worked with atmospheric water generation start-up, Skydra, to pilot their technology at a Chicago Department of Water Management pumping station. Skydra demonstrated its technology after being selected as one of five finalists from a field of 98 teams worldwide who competed in the Water Abundance XPRIZE competition.
Atmospheric water generation extracts water from ambient air through a condensation process, resulting in water easily filtered for human consumption. The Current team recently visited the pilot site to learn more about what makes Skydra’s technology so effective at pulling water out of the air.
“At Skydra we set out and succeeded in designing what we believe is the most efficient, cost-effective and scalable atmospheric water generator and dehumidifier ever, right when the world needs it most,” said Nathan Taylor, a co-founder of Skydra. “We are beyond excited to deploy our revolutionary technology to help people meet their water needs.”
In Skydra’s prototype, ambient air enters the device and loops through their system - cooling in temperature and increasing in humidity until the air is fully cooled and reaches saturation. Once the air reaches the dew point and condensation forms, the cool air leaves the system and re-enters the atmosphere, leaving water behind. As it exits, this cool air aids in lowering the temperature of new incoming ambient air, enhancing the system’s efficiency.
“Current congratulates Skydra on being selected as a Water Abundance XPrize finalist and on a successful pilot project,” said Current’s Executive Director Steve Frenkel. “Current’s broad market intelligence and robust technology validation capabilities can help innovators like Skydra bring their technology solutions to a wide audience of customers, investors, and strategic partners.”
What sets Skydra’s technology apart from other atmospheric water generators is its energy efficiency. Skydra’s machine utilizes patent-pending technology that locks in moisture that maximizes water extraction and recirculates exiting cool, dry air to improve efficiency. Skydra’s own testing indicates that its machine uses half the energy to condense water than other atmospheric water generators, regardless of ambient humidity. And, under high humidity conditions, Skydra claims to be able to produce water ten times more efficiently this its competitors.
Skydra’s water generation system can be effective in a wide range of environmental conditions, especially in less humid climates, due to their breakthrough innovations. Skydra’s atmospheric generation system may be particularly well-suited to work in conjunction with municipal water systems, by helping water providers augment supply and reduce depletion of water resources.
“The Chicago Department of Water Management is proud to host technology demonstrations that showcase how innovative solutions like Skydra can help meet growing water needs both locally and worldwide,” said Commissioner Randy Conner. “Skydra’s atmospheric water generation system has the potential to enhance municipal water supplies in communities facing scarcity and quality concerns.”
With their pilot finished and precise calculations readied for commercial production, Skydra plans to soon conduct a full-scale trial of their technology. Given the large quantity of water their system can efficiently generate, Skydra hopes to partner with drinking water utilities to showcase how they can help meet local water needs.
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