Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Moisture vaporators

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away there was a budding young Jedi living on a desert planet with his aunt and uncle. They were moisture farmers. They put moisture vaporators out in the desert every quarter mile or so. The moisture vaporators collected what little water there was out of the air and processed it for human consumption. The Skywalker family would then sell the water in town.

No, really, that's what the Skywalkers did for a living.

Now you can get a moisture vaporator of your very own.

I always thought the idea was a neat one. I've wondered how to make one. You can see how window air conditioners tend to drool all over the place. So clearly condensation is one method. Then filter the water and run it under an ultraviolet light to kill any bacteria. I'd take note of different developments that made it more efficient. There's special fabrics that can collect and shed water without condensation.

Last summer I started looking more seriously. See, I'm trying to stop using the air conditioner. I've been successful for two summers and am working on a third. But the house gets uncomfortable. Not hot. Not really. In the low 80's. But the humidity kills ya. I could run a dehumidifier but I'm told that it uses just barely less power than the AC. I may as well be running the AC. I have to wonder what the power consumption of a moisture vaporator is.

Here's what I'm finding.

AirWater Corp has several models. Alas, they all seem to be focused on making water for large groups. They run from 5,000 liters for irrigation and 1,000 for villages down to 100 litres that makes water and ice and 120 liters for ... I guess offices. These work on the scale of the Star Wars models but I can't see using them in a family sized house.

Air 2 Water has residential models but my experiences trying to buy one from them last summer tells me that they're not terribly interested in dealing with us small fries. They were dismissive and rude.
The Dolphin/dragonfly T16 is about water cooler sized. It produces up to a liter per hour and stores up to 14 liters. It consumes 600-1000 watts.
The Dolphin 2/Dragonfly M18 is a countertop model. It produces half a liter per hour and consumes 523-635 watts. Maximum storage is 7 liters. If this isn't enough water it can also serve as a filter for your tap.
They also have a filter for the kitchen sink, but that's getting away from the point of my research.

Librex also has a water cooler and a countertop model. They have the Waterex and Crystello but I can't get much more info than that.

Xziex is similarly lacking in details. However, judging from the photos on their website, their Xziex Elite appears to be nearly identical to the previously mentioned Dolphin 2/Dragonfly M18.

My favorite so far is Planet's Purest Water's residential model, the Rain Cloud C-21. Their PDF gives hard data about how much water you can expect at different temperatures and humidities. It produces 8-48 liters per day depending on local conditions. It has a 25 liter main tank. It has a hot water tank that can be switched off if, like me, you don't need it and are trying to conserve power. The water making and chilling compressor uses 371W. It costs $1,700. The staff responds to e-mails quickly and courteously.

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