Zero Mass Water, the solar panels that produce drinking water

These particular solar panels "capture" water vapor and turn it into water. At the same time they also produce energy

The topic of sustainability and alternative energy is one of the hottest in recent years. Many nations have come to the forefront to promote the production of energy through "alternative" tools: wind turbines and, above all, solar panels.

The field of photovoltaic panels in the last period is undergoing important innovations. In Australia, a group of researchers has patented the solar paint, while Elon Musk with his company SolarCity has commercialized the solar tiles. But from the United States is coming another novelty that could change the entire sector: solar panels that produce drinking water. These special panels could solve two problems in one: the lack of water and the production of "clean" energy. The idea came from a U.S. startup, Zero Mass Water, which has created a system that captures water vapor and transforms it into (almost) drinkable water.

How Zero Mass Water solar panels work

Outward appearance can sometimes be deceiving. To look at them, the Zero Mass Water panels would seem to be normal photovoltaic panels that produce electricity from the sun. But in reality it is not so. In fact, thanks to a special system created by Cody Friesen, an engineer at Arizona State University and owner of the startup, the solar brushes, in addition to producing energy and heat, can also capture the moisture in the air and turn it into liquid water. Cody Friesen has never explained how the system he created actually works, but the results are there for all to see, with several panels being mounted around the World.

Where to mount Zero Mass Water panels

The panels from the US startup can be mounted in any area, but in some areas they yield more than others. In fact, to produce a good amount of water (on average, a solar panel can collect 5 liters per day) it is necessary that the climate is very humid and full of water vapor. In dry areas, the panel created by Zero Mass Water, can not work at its best.

Each panel can collect a maximum of 30 liters of water, which to become drinkable needs the addition of some minerals that increase the pH of the liquid.

How much does it cost to install a panel Zero Mass Water

The U.S. startup has no precise figures to quantify the cost of installing a solar panel. The only data provided are about the payback time of the expense that are calculated in about 2-4 years. So the total cost of a panel should easily exceed two thousand euros.

For the moment the panels have been installed mainly in the most remote and poor areas of the world, where to find (almost) drinkable water is almost impossible. Photovoltaic panels will not be the ultimate solution, but they certainly represent an excellent buffer solution in view of the advances in technology that will allow to capture even more water from the humidity.