Can Humans Survive on Water Vapor Alone? – WIRED

by Zero Mass Water,
The world is full of water, flushing down our toilets and flowing from our taps. And yet where I live, in the American Southwest, and quite possibly where you live, the kind of water people need to survive is getting harder to come by. Across the region, temperatures are rising and droughts are getting more severe, and in the coming decades the West will struggle to supply the water its residents and businesses demand. Even in wetter regions like the Gulf Coast, where the storms are getting stronger and the rainfall more persistent, much of that water glut is washing back out to sea, unused, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

So I worry about the stuff: where it’ll come from, who will own it, when it will dry up. To steady my mind, I’ve turned to technology. More exactly, the emerging innovations that will keep us hydrated in the not-so-distant desertified future.

Then I found a company called Zero Mass Water, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, that produces $2,000 “hydropanels” that the company claims can capture water vapor from air. One panel can make up to five liters a day, and two of them together could produce enough for a household’s daily drinking and cooking. In theory, someone—even me—could strap one of these panels to the bed of a truck, drive out to the desert, and live off the grid with water to spare.

Writer Ryan Bradley drives through the Sonoran Desert. Photo courtesy of KYLE RM JOHNSON.