Water from Thin Air

When Ford Motor’s Doug Martin read about a billboard in Lima, Peru, that turned humidity into drinking water for the local population, an innovative idea struck: What if cars could take water from thin air and be a source of water?

Condensation from vehicle air conditioners, which usually just drips to the pavement below, could be used in much the same way. Martin worked with colleague John Rollinger to bring the idea to life, creating a prototype system that collects, filters and pumps the condensation directly to a faucet located inside the car.

To test his idea, Martin discovered that a car can produce more than 64 ounces of water per hour, the equivalent of nearly four water bottles. Naturally, this means fewer roadside stops to pick up bottled water on a road trip, a nice convenience, along with fewer plastic bottles filling trash heaps. But the benefits extend much further, potentially curbing the global water crisis, which, according to the World Health Organization, affects one in 10 people and leaves hundreds of millions without clean drinking water.

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