Weekly Water Watch: Wood-to-Energy Deployed Water

One WEDEW unit can produce 2,000 liters of water per day Welcome to the first of a regular series of news articles to be published by Missions Box News (MBN) on the subject of clean, safe-to-drink water and clean water scarcity worldwide. It is part of a metamorphosis at Missions Box News to raise awareness on several key issues around the globe in the 21st century. This week MBN has already launched a series featuring the work of various nonprofit organizations and another on current affairs in Israel.

Over 780 million people in 43 countries are facing water scarcity due to lack of availability, uneven distribution and access, and contamination.
Clean Water from a GFA-provided BioSand Filter

The sailor stranded at sea in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” bemoaned that, although he was surrounded by water, none of it was suitable to drink. “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.”

Coleridge had no idea how those words would apply to the entire world in 2018 when according to Zenia Tata,

Over 780 million people in 43 countries are facing water scarcity due to lack of availability, uneven distribution and access, and contamination.

Those 780 million people facing severe water scarcity are a subsection of the 4.3 billion people for whom “freshwater scarcity is increasingly perceived as a global systemic risk” at least one month per year, according to Science Advances. Nearly half of the 4.3 billion live in India and China.

Zenia Tata is the Chief Impact Officer of XPrize, an international organization that seeks to incentivize the creation of decentralized, affordable access to water, whenever and wherever possible.

The winner of this year’s $1.5 million XPrize Water Abundance Competition, an alliance between Skysource and Skywater Alliance, was announced on Friday, October 19th.

The team presented a working solution with which the prize money will be used to help scale and deploy the project, has been dubbed the WEDEW (Wood-to-Energy Deployed Water).

The WEDEW is housed in a unit the size of a shipping container. The unit is currently capable of producing 2,000 liters of water per day (enough for 100 people) from the 3.4 quadrillion gallons available in the atmosphere at any time. It does so at a cost of less than two cents per liter (a condition for eligibility for the XPrize).

Warm air is drawn into the unit where cooler air creates the right conditions for condensation to generate drinkable water. The unit can be powered by burning wood or other biomass materials that are renewable sources of energy. It can also be powered by solar energy, so it can be used in regions where biomass is impractical or unavailable. Either method of providing energy for the unit’s operation is considered is have a negative carbon footprint.

David Hertz, one of the leaders of the project, noted that “Our process is one that is really antithetical to the slow-moving infrastructure that exists.” He added that “One could imagine these shipping containers being positions in a state of readiness throughout the world to be able to respond to disasters for both energy and water.”

Providing sources of clean water has been at the forefront of Gospel for Asia’s work in South Asia as we seek to reach and enable one community at a time to become healthier and prosperous. We do this by providing and maintaining community-sustaining Jesus Wells and BioSand filters free of charge through our field partners.

To learn more about the global water scarcity issue, here is a selection of some of our previous articles on the subject:


To read more news on the global clean water scarcity issue on Missions Box, go here.