This is one exciting product from a creative group of social entrepreneurs.

Nearly 800 million people face water scarcity and solutions, like desalination, are expensive. The earth’s atmosphere, the team at Skysource realized, could be tapped as a resource. “At any given time, it holds 12 quadrillion gallons–the number 12 with 19 zeros after it–a very, very, big number,” she says. The household needs for all 7 billion people on earth add up to only around 350 or 400 billion gallons. 

So, the team set out to tap water vapor that appears to be virtually limitless and entered their project in the XPRIZE contest.

During Visioneering 2018, XPRIZE’s annual gathering of philanthropists and innovators to evaluate concepts for future competitions, The Skysource / Skywater Alliance was announced as the grand prize winner of the Water Abundance XPRIZE, a two-year competition aimed at alleviating the global water crisis with energy-efficient technologies that harvest fresh water from thin air.

The Skysource / Skywater Alliance, based in Venice Beach, California, received a grand prize of $1.5M for developing an easily deployable high-volume water generator that can be used in any climate, meeting the competition parameters of extracting a minimum of 2,000 liters of water per day from the atmosphere using 100 percent renewable energy, at a cost of no more than two cents per liter. 

The system can run on biomass, or on solar and battery power. In either case, it can quickly be deployed off the grid in areas where water is polluted or where supplies have dwindled because of drought. “Our process is one that is really antithetical to the slow-moving infrastructure that exists that is not able to be responsive to a changing climate,” commented a reprehensive from Skysource.

The team plans to use the prize money to develop and deploy the units worldwide in partnership with nonprofits.