Nowadays, almost every bikes have a place to hold a water bottle. Kristof Retezár, an Austrian designer, has come up with Fontus, a device that collects the moisture from the air, condenses it and stores it as safe drinking water. In simple word, the device can produce water from air through moisture.
The device Fontus has been especially designed as a self-filling water bottle for your bicycle. It is powered by solar cells and it harvests up to 0.5 liters in an hour’s worth of cycling when under the right climate conditions.
Interested to know how does it actually work? Well, the device has a small cooler called Peltier Element installed in its center. The cooler is divided in two.
According to Retezár, “When powered by electricity, the upper side cools down and the bottom side gets hot. The more you cool the hot side down, the colder the upper side will get. Consequently, these two sides are separated and isolated from each other.”
He has also mentioned that when the air enters the bottom chamber at a high speed when moving forward with the bike and cools the hot side down. Moreover, when the air enters the upper chamber it is stopped by little walls perforated non-linearly, reducing its speed in order to give the air the needed time to lose its water molecules. Droplets flow through a pipe into a bottle. The bottle can be turned to a vertical position; every kind of PET 0.5l bottle fits.
Retezár said, “My goal was to create a small, compact and self-sufficient device able to absorb humid air, separate water molecules from air molecules and store water in liquid form in a bottle.”
After doing more than 30 experiments, Retezár was able to achieve a constant drop-flow of one drop of condensed water per minute. The invention could be useful for cyclists on long tours, relieved of the hassle in looking for nearby stores or rivers or gas stations if one had a bottle that automatically fills itself up.
At present, there are some technical hurdles limiting its usefulness. Fontus produces only about a drop of water per minute, which might be hard for cycling on a hot and humid day. It’s also a challenge in cities, where air pollution would render the water undrinkable. Supporters who like his idea hope that he will find success in order to further refine and develop the device.