Abu Dhabi-UAE: Khalifa University of Science and Technology in partnership with, Eshara Water, a UAE-based manufacturer of atmospheric water generators, Azelio AB of Sweden, a leader in long duration energy storage technology, and Masdar City, one of the world’s most sustainable developments, today launched the world’s first atmospheric water generation system (AWG) powered entirely by solar energy and electrical thermal energy storage.

The technology, which produces drinking water straight from the air, supplies up to 1,000 liters a day per unit, with the partners hoping to increase this capacity to 7,500 liters in the near future. The innovation in this project is the combination of AWG with solar power and more importantly two thermal energy storage power on demand (TES.POD®) systems for night clean electricity supply.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, said: “This collaboration bears all the hallmarks of a region-relevant, community-specific, and sustainable research initiative, and we are glad to offer our expertise and infrastructure to facilitate research for the clean production of water and power. We believe this AWG project outcome will prove beneficial to distant or isolated off-grid regions that otherwise may have to depend on non-ecofriendly energy sources for their daily electricity and water requirements.”

Atmospheric water generation, also referred to as atmospheric water harvesting, is gaining popularity as a means of producing drinking water in remote locations, or for specific uses such as disaster relief, where distance and time hinder the installation of conventional water desalination.

AWG systems capture moisture from ambient air to produce fresh water through cooling of most air below its dew point causing the moisture to condense as water.  The water collected is then filtered and treated to meet quality standards.

Dr. Nicolas Calvet, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Khalifa University, and Founder and Chair of Khalifa University’s Masdar Institute Solar Platform (MISP) at Masdar City, said: “Khalifa University has installed 450 kW of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for this groundbreaking project funded by Azelio. Our mission at the university is to pioneer solutions that cater to the environmental needs of the UAE and the wider global community and hence this project focuses on energy storage and production of electricity and water at night.

Dr. Calvet added: “It has been incredibly inspiring to see the growth of the Masdar Institute Solar Platform, which is an educative place for expatriates but also Emirati students that helps create more national expertise for the UAE clean-tech sector.”

Ahmed Baghoum, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Masdar City said: “From day one, our aim has been to build a city that relies on renewable energy and can be as autonomous as possible in the generation of essential resources. This solar-powered atmospheric water generator is a perfect representation of that vision, a mechanism that generates potable water without the need of power from the national grid.”

To date, Eshara Water has commercialized AWG systems with production capacities of up to 7,500 liters per day, however the modular technology can produce as much as 1 million liters of fresh water a day.

Eshara Water CEO Rob Bain: ““I am delighted to collaborate together with Khalifa University, Azelio and Masdar City – it has been my dream to develop a sustainable solar powered water farm, this partnership brings that dream closer to reality”.

Thanks to the solar PV farm and the TES.POD® energy storage system designed by Azelio AB, the AWG system installed at the MISP can be operated 24 hours a day.

“Food and water security are crucial and increasingly important in many parts of the world. We are delighted to contribute to showcasing this groundbreaking solution for fresh water supply and electricity – in an application where our energy storage technology is a perfect fit,” said Jonas Wallmander, CEO of Azelio.