What Is ‘Skywater’? Invention That Pulls Drinkable Water Out of the Air Wins $1.5 Million Prize for California Inventors

A California based company has created a machine that has the capacity to reduce the global water scarcity problem.

A California based team has designed a machine that can produce up to 300 gallons of fresh drinking water per day, simply by pulling it out of the air. The team won $1.5 million for their innovative creation.

Called Skywater, the machines were created by the Skysource/Skywater Alliance. The collective is a group of sustainability experts from Venice, California.

The Skywater machines are atmospheric water generators that condense water vapor from the atmosphere and turn it into drinking water. The machines are eco-friendly, running off of solar energy or the burning of biofuels. Housed in big metal boxes, the machines can be used for personal use, on farms, or in emergency relief efforts. Currently, nearly 800 million people are impacted by water scarcity.

The $1.5 million prize (Water Abundance XPRIZE) was award by XPRIZE, a non-profit that runs competitions aimed at solving global problems, such as accessibility to clean drinking water. This particular contest lasted two years and was driven by the directive to solve the global water crisis through the development and accessibility of new technologies.

“We do a lot of first principles thinking at XPrize when we start designing these challenges,” says Zenia Tata, the Chief Impact Officer of XPrize.

Water is becoming increasingly scarce in numerous parts of the globe. The scarcity perpetuates difficulties surrounding agriculture, infrastructure in developing nations, and public health.

Tata realized that the amount of potential water that exists in the atmosphere far exceeds that needed by the human population.

“At any given time, it holds 12 quadrillion gallons–the number 12 with 19 zeros after it–a very, very, big number,” she says.

To put that number into perspective, the household needs for all 7 billion people on earth reaches approximately 350-400 billion gallons of water. This kind of technology has the potential to drastically reduce the issue of water scarcity.

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