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Welcome to the Energy & Environment (E&E) Exchange, a blog dedicated to science and engineering topics that are (generally) related to energy and the environment. This blog is meant to encourage discussion about the challenges and possibilities surrounding sustainability through science and technology. The blog's owner, cheme_wordsmithy, is a former technical writer and engineering editor at IEEE GlobalSpec, the company that powers CR4.

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Harvesting Water from Fog

Posted October 19, 2011 9:08 AM by cheme_wordsmithy
Pathfinder Tags: fog resource Water water security

(Fog water collectors on El Tofo mountain, Chile. Image Credit: IDRC / CDRI; Photographer Sitoo Mukerji)

A major hindrance to the development of many regions is the lack of available fresh drinking water. Climate is a huge factor in this crisis, as some regions often go long periods without rain. In addition, some towns and villages are great distances from the nearest clean water source, requiring inhabitants (typically girls and women) to spend an excessive portion of their day just retrieving water, often through harsh terrain or even war zones.

As an alternative to complete dependence on inconsistent rainwater or imports, Otto Klemm has been developing and implementing technology to collect water from fog for over 20 years. The technique is borrowed from nature: vegetation in arid regions collects condensed water particles on needles and leaves as fog moves through. Klemm's fog collectors use plastic nets four meters high and ten meters wide, accumulating water on the mesh. Water is collected at the lower edge of the net and guided through a drainage system.

"At the right spot we can collect 5 liters of water per square meter. That means 200 liters per day per fog collector," says Klemm.

The system's practicality is dependent on being placed in an ideal location that forms enough fog. In arid regions, locations with a small amount of vegetation are evidence of fog forming on an average of 200 days a year. It is also dependent on educating the people to be able to maintain these systems in order to make them sustainable. However, since their first installation in Chungungo in 1987, Klumm has proven that these collectors can change lives if implemented correctly.

(A fog-catching net in the foothills of the Chilean Andes. Image Credit: Anna Westbeld)

Source: Allianz

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