Article courtesy of KSAT | Shared as educational material| June 8, 2015 |
SAN ANTONIO – The drought may be busted, and if AWG Technology’s water machine works as well as its developers say, it may never come back.
The machine is based on Spanish technology. Local developers John Vollmer and Moses West are testing it out and allowing it to be evaluated by numerous entities, including the military.
The machine takes water from the air in the form of humidity and converts it into drinking water. It’s not a new process, but the machine does it on a large scale and much more economically than before.
“As long as you have 30 percent humidity or greater, there’s no such thing as a drought,” West said.
He said they’ve installed two small machines inside Trinity University’s Center for Science and Innovation. The larger one is in the parking lot. It can produce as much as 3,000 gallons a day of drinkable, clean water.
“There’s no smell. There’s no chlorine, no antibiotics, no fluoride, there’s nothing in it. It’s the exact same thing that we are breathing,” West said.
West said machine can be run on electricity, diesel fuel, wind, solar and any other energy source. That’s part of what makes this project unique. He said the military is very interested in seeing how easily it can be set up and operated on bases having water shortage issues.
Chief financial officer John Vollmer, Jr. said the National Guard has come out three times to evaluate the machine for filling its emergency disaster “buffalo,” which is used by guardsmen deployed in harsh conditions such as hurricane aftermaths.
He said the math of producing water this way as compared to pumping it and shipping it out to those locations makes it an obvious choice. Drilling new wells, or even pumping from the aquifer is equally less cost efficient, according to Vollmer.
“Right now we are actually producing water for $1 per 55-gallon barrel. And we think we can do it cheaper,” Vollmer said, noting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is monitoring the tests at Trinity, as is Texas A&M and the San Antonio Water System.
The Trinity testing finishes in August, when the machines are moved to Camp Mabry in Austin for evaluations by the Army and the University of Texas.
Vollmer said the water machines will probably be priced at about $300,000 each.