Popular Science

Published March 1, 2017

A machine that pulls water from the air. Literally.

"More than 600 million people lack regular access to clean drinking water. And by 2030, half of humanity will live in areas where the demand for water outstrips the available supply. That’s why entrepreneurs Nancy Curtis and Don Zacherl from VICI Labs are experimenting with a device they call WaterSeer, which pulls moisture out of the air using nothing but wind power and basic physics.

The air is full of water vapor. Chill that vapor, however, and the water will condensate into a liquid. This principle makes water bead up on the outside of a frosty glass - and it also drives WaterSeer: The device sends air underground, where the cooler temperatures turn the water from gas to liquid. Field tests suggest that WaterSeer can produce up to 11 gallons of fresh drinking water per day in drier environments like San Francisco. It works even better under humid conditions like in Virginia, where it can provide 14 gallons a day.

Working with the National Peace Corps Association, VICI Labs aims to begin testing their device in up to 10 locations around the world this year. If all goes well, it could provide safe drinking water to communities in developing countries, and even drought-stricken California."
- Sarah Fecht, Popular Science


The Guardian

Published February 13, 2017

Could these five innovations help solve the global water crisis?

"It looks like a well, but instead of withdrawing groundwater, the WaterSeer uses the surrounding environment to extract water from the atmosphere. It is planted six feet below the surface, where its lower chamber is surrounded by cool earth. Above ground, wind spins a turbine which spins fan blades inside the device. These blades send the air into an internal condensation chamber where, as the warm air cools, the vapour condenses on the sides of the chamber. Water then flows down to the lower chamber and can be extracted with a simple pump and hose. In ideal conditions, it can collect 37 litres of water a day. Developed by VICI labs in the US, the project is being tested by the National Peace Corps Association and will be piloted later this year."
- Rosie Spinks, The Guardian


TIME Magazine

Published November 7, 2016

Big Idea

"One in nine people worldwide lives without access to clean drinking water, and that problem is especially bad in areas unsuitable for wells or irrigation. One solution: the WaterSeer, a wind powered device that aims to extract up to 11 gal. of potable water every day—from thin air. The key? Condensation. After a fan pushes air below ground, a pipe-like metal chamber cools it, and then water particles collect in a reservoir. “Anybody who’s had a frothy glass of beer knows there’s moisture in the air,” says Don Zacherl, CEO of VICI Labs, which developed the WaterSeer. “We’re just applying it in a different way.” The company aims to send out the first versions next year, once the National Peace Corps Association has finished field testing."
- Julia Zorthian, TIME


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