With the recent development of low-cost means for harvesting water from the ambient air, more widespread implementation of such technologies is needed, especially in areas that typically do not receive much rainfall. The existing technologies typically rely on wired electricity or other power sources to be implemented. It makes sense to utilize solar power for water harvesting as most drought-afflicted areas are generally very sunny, proving ample energy. Additionally, in the U.S., the areas affected the most by drought are in the Southwest, which typically has much cooler nights than days with a large region near the Pacific Ocean, which provides a significant amount of ambient moisture, especially at night.
The proposed solution aims to take advantage of these features to capture solar energy during the day when such energy is easily available and then condense air at night when moisture is more readily available to maximize the amount of water that may be harvested and to minimize energy usage. Additionally, excess solar energy could be used for non-water-harvesting, if so desired.
The concept, as shown in the attached drawing, aims to minimize its footprint by using a solar collector on one side of the apparatus during the day and rotating the apparatus 180 degrees at dusk to expose a condensation plate on which water may be collected during the night. This arrangement leverages radiation heat loss plus stored-energy cooling to reduce the condensation-plate temperature to below the dew point. These panels, because they are self-contained units, may be located anywhere for maximum utilization. Furthermore, networks of such units may be connected, if so desired to centralize energy storage and water collection. All necessary technologies are relatively mature and low in cost, so combining them in this form should provide low-cost, easy-to-install solutions.
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