Potable water generating billboard
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Water generated daily
Region : Latin America & Caribbean
National GDP Per Capita (USD) : 7,002 (IMF, 2018)
City Population: 9,751,717
Year Implemented : 2013
National Gini Index : 43.8 (World Bank, 2016)
Tags : ENVIRONMENT ENERGY WATER
Technologies Utilized : Condensers, Reverse osmosis purification
Funding Source : UTEC
Project Cost :
Project Savings :
Planned Project Duration :
KPIs : Liters of water generated, Increase in enrollments
Project Context and Overview
With an aim to increase enrollment at the Universidad de Ingeneria Y Tecnologica (UTEC) and a mission towards more sustainable development, the school devised a plan to achieve both. In partnership with ad agency Mayo Publicidad, UTEC showcased an innovative approach to helping solve Lima’s water crisis and recruit more interest in its program. The university installed a billboard that produces drinking water from humidity that advertised solutions towards meeting sustainable development goals.
Lima lies at the northern edge of the Atacama Desert which is a contributing factor to the city’s low rainfall and high levels of humidity. Estimates put 700,000 people without access to clean water and another 600,000 that rely on cisterns. The majority of residents in the region rely on drawing water from a well or from water vendors that raise costs in order to make a profit. Much of the well water is said to be polluted and relying on water vendors is economically unsustainable.
In addition, Lima is among the highest polluted cities in South America as the hills surrounding the city act as a natural barrier, preventing polluted air from circulating. Although recent reports indicate that air pollution in Lima is on the decline, the city’s pollution levels are triple World Health Organization maximum limits.
Project Planning and Implementation
Knowing that water is scarce in the region, UTEC embedded 5 condensers into a billboard that were powered by the city’s electricity. Similar to air conditioning units, the condensers are cooler than the air outside. Thus, when the outside air meets the cooled surface, the air cools and the water vapor condenses into water. Following reverse osmosis purification, the water flows down into a storage tank that is hooked up to a faucet for residents to access.
The billboard is said to have generated almost 100 liters of water a day and 9,450 liters of water in a span of three months. Although this is not enough to fully curb the water resource problem in Lima, the project proves to be scalable and has instilled an entrepreneurial flair towards smart and sustainable solutions among the youth. UTEC has seen an increase of 28% in applications.
Recommendations for Transfer
The project was an innovative way to address water shortage and air pollution with one simple concept. As it uses readily-available technology, it will be easy to replicate this project in other cities, and would be easy to scale up if needed.
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