Monthly Archives: September 2007

Could NOLA’s humid air be an untapped natural resource?

Water may become one of the most valuable natural resources over the course of this century due to demand rising faster than supply.

Here in south Louisiana we got water. It’s all around us, under us, and sometimes over us. It is also in the air, lots of it.

We mostly just endure the humidity. Complain about it. Sweat when we exert the least little effort outside.

But maybe our humid air could be a gold mine. Aqua Sciences, Inc. has developed technology that can distill pure drinking water out of the air. Their products are designed for emergency use in disasters and war zones. The cost is roughly 25 cents per gallon of water.

What if this technology went large scale? Aqua Science’s machines yield up to 1,200 gallons per day. What if that could be increased 100-fold or a 1,000-fold? Is there a viable business here?

Right now all I have is questions, no answers:

Does more humid air yield water at a lower unit cost than dry air?
How does this technology work, anyway?
What are the economics of such a business?
How does it compare to taking water from the ground with wells? Or from springs? Or from reservoirs?
What are the total economic costs of the diferent ways of “mining” water, including all long-term environment costs? (The depletion of aquifers is a huge problem in some areas, such as the Great Plains. Reservoirs cost a lot to build and maintain.)

What does water from the air it taste like?
Does it taste different in different places?
How does the chemistry of water distilled from the air compare with ground water? (I’m thinking mineral content, etc.)