Solar Passive Atmospheric Water Generator

This device pulls water out of dry air with nothing more than solar heating.

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The goal of this project is to build an atmospheric water generator using inexpensive, readily available components that can generate enough water for survival without needing an external energy source other than the sun (or other natural, readily-available, renewable & sustainable, hyperlocal sources of energy)

This seeks to implement techniques proven and pioneered here:

Special thanks to James Newton ( for inspiration, wisdom, and the occasional cajoling to keep this project moving forward.

More info on Atmospheric Water Generators:

The idea of this project is pretty simple:

  • Adsorbents like zeolite and silica beads pull water out of the air until they are saturated. 
  • If the relative humidity of the surrounding air drops, the adsorbents release the water as vapor.
  • The goal here is to allow Adsorbents to passively saturate in the air, and then extract the water from them.
  • To do that we:
    • Heat the air around the adsorbent, decreasing the relative humidity, causing the adsorbentto release water vapor
    • We force that water vapor to it a cooler surface at which point it condenses and we collect it
  • To achieve above, we use the sun to heat one side of our device, forcing as much heat as we can into and around the adsorbent, filling the device with water vapor.
  • On the shaded side we have a heat sink that stays at the ambient temperature, and causes the released water to condense on it's surface, dripping down under the force of gravity to collect the water.

While the above fundamentals above are simple, the success of this project hinges on the efficiency of the device, my prototypes of which, do not produce as much water as I would like.

This project is to document and share as I attempt to increase the efficiency of these such that they would be practically useful for off-grid, drinking water generators in arid environments where secure access to clean drinking water is not guaranteed.

View all 9 components

View all 3 project logs

  • 1
    Cut four 12" rods into eight 6" rods
  • 2
    Fasten the rods together into two rectangle frames (I used staples for quick & easy)
  • 3
    Waterproof one of the frames fully (I laminated with packing tape)

View all 15 instructions

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