Out of Thin Air: Atmospheric Water Generators can help reduce water insecurity worldwide

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Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG) is a category covering a diversity of technologies that can produce potable drinking water directly from the air. These technologies have expanded the capacity to generate one’s own water source even in remote locations, and are growing in popularity as water and infrastructure challenges continue to grow worldwide. The AWG market is broadly divided into higher and lower capacity units ranging from over 5,000 Litres of water produced per day, to less than 100. As freshwater demands increase and the technology continues to develop for use in more diverse situations, the market is expected to grow globally to meet this demand. Prior to the pandemic, the global market was projected to grow at an annual rate of 19.5% from 2020 to 2027 and reach a market share of 8.9 billion by 2027. A large part of this growth projection is driven by the Asian Pacific region due to high population pressures increasing the water deficit and higher rates of technology adoption to compensate. Post-pandemic, Technavio has projected that current AWG market growth is neutral adjusting for the short term business impacts of the global crisis. Nonetheless, the APAC region continued to provide 35% of overall growth, with China and Japan positioned as key markets for faster growth post-pandemic.

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The AWG market is considered moderately fragmented. The technology is currently being used in industrial, commercial, and residential applications, and holds potential for small-scale agricultural practices as well. Some of the top companies leading the market today include: Aquaboy, Hendrx, SkyH20, Dew Point, EcoloBlue, Watergen, WaterMakerIndia, Source, and Atlantis Solar, among others. Their products range from individual hydropanels to larger scale industrial generators. Many of these companies have sold their technology to supplement large-scale operations, as well as seeking out decentralized projects in remote areas to further accelerate the stabilizing impacts of their technology. For example, Watergen has donated and implemented 2 GEN-M devices in the Wayuu community in La Guajira, Colombia; Source installed 45 Hydropanels in partnership with Angel Rock South Africa at the Musenga Vhadzimu Primary School in Johannesburg; and Akvo’s 36K machines were installed in Chennai.

AWGs that are self-sustaining through the combined use of built-in renewable energy are especially appealing as they are completely independent of any centralized energy sources. This technology can either reduce dependence on centralized energy and water providers, or eliminate the need entirely depending on the situation. Usually this would come into play in communities that are already low in infrastructure and cut off from primary services. Fluctuations do occur with AWGs over the exact production output depending on environmental factors, which is their main limitation to mass scale adoption. Companies like Atlantis Solar offer products such as the Solar Hot Water Heater and separate Solar Generators to work alongside their AWGs. Source is definitely the leader in the elegant Hydropanel solution, which produces water and its own energy all in one panel. The growth and adoption of AWGs of all varieties is an implicit driver for concurrent renewable technology development and adoption as their technological missions align for self-sustaining modular infrastructure. The combination of these technologies could help bring water and energy security to remote areas across the world and could help us reimagine sustainability and resilience into our own systems going forward.

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