BlueIce Alpha

27 Jan 2016 Comments #prototype

IT WORKS! We successfully made water from the air at NIMBY0 in Oakland, California. Don’t worry, we filtered the water (reverse osmosis) before we drank it.

MacGyver would be proud: we were able to pull ordinary off the shelf parts together to make this prototype function.fig0 We are successfully generating water from thin air! BlueIce Alpha, the first prototype of our large-scale AWG (atmospheric water generator),1 is able to generate 12 L of pre-filtered water per 24h at a cost of 1.4 kWh/L.2

We have come a long way since we started in September with a scavenged thermoelectric heat pump and small heat exchanger.fig1 fig2 The alpha build has taken shape and is currently NIMBY’s first atmospheric water generator! But it doesn’t end there for us, we are already working on increasing the structure’s size and water generating capacity.

BlueIce Alpha is our first prototype AWG on the roadmap to openAWG v1, which can supply 1,300 L / 24h pre-filtered @ 612 Wh/L.3 BlueIce will also be used as a basis for fundraising. We plan to produce the drinking water served at our fundraising events and hope to auction off the prototype.

We are constructing test rigs to automate experiments that will inform our implementation as the project progresses towards openAWG v1 deployment at BRC. The final BlueIce release is simply a scaled version of BlueIce Alpha – with more dehumidifiers collecting water from the air.

The next steps ahead of us are collecting samples to send to the lab, finishing up our Indiegogo campaign, and getting the documentation caught up to the implementation so we can open source4 the alpha release.

So hey, we’re building this machine that makes water from thin air. A lot of it. 1.3 metric tons every day to be exact. And it will cost a cool $125k. I’m also going to need a 100MB/s upload connection from BRC, a couple more shipping containers, and 60kw of power. I hope that’s not going to be a problem.



 [2]: 12.8 C ambient, 5.6 C dew point, 65% relative humidity, 6.9 g/m3 absolute humidity, experiment conducted at NIMBY in Oakland, CA.

 [3]: 16 - 32 C ambient, -5 - 5 C dewpoint, 5 - 30% relative humidity, 4 - 6 g/m3 absolute humidity, hourly average conditions predicted at Burning Man (location and time) by normalized climate model calculated by Ted Hullar.


 [fig0]: prototype BlueIce Alpha at NIMBY prototype BlueIce Alpha at NIMBY

 [fig1]: thermoelectric heat pump assembly thermoelectric heat pump assembly

 [fig2]: water condensing on radiator water condensing onto a small pc liquid cooling heat exchanger