TriboFuge - Water from Air Harvester

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TriboFuge (Tribo-electric Centrifuge) harvests water from air by using a unique combination of an electrostatic precipitator and a centrifuge. TriboFuge can in a deserts produce almost limitless water and transform the ever expanding deserts of the World, into vast fertile gardens of incredible agricultural potential. TriboFuge can help feed the World without pollution or environmental degradation.


Dry air contains trillions of micro droplets (MDs) per m3, as relative humidity rises the mean MD diameter increases. MDs are dynamic objects that lose and gain water molecules, when relative humidity reaches 100% the MDs can grow to be water droplets that can precipitate.

Air coming in at the top of the tube starts down the tube with a large velocity differential to the tube inner surface, friction with the wall causes the air to match the PVC inner rotating surface (3,000RPM) velocity, that same friction triboelectrically charges the PVC tube's inner surface.

The charged surface, with an earthed central electrode pole acts upon incoming MDs so that they are rapidly attracted to the surface, but instead of contacting the surface and bouncing off due to charge equalization, the problem that makes conventional electrostatic precipitators useless, TriboFuge transitions to being a centrifuge thus capturing the MDs to the wall, the water thus accumulates in the bottom part of the tube, the water so captured is released periodically simply by switching off the electric motor, water can then be accumulated in a bucket/tank.


Refrigerative water from air systems have to overcome the fact that water vapour releases energy at a rate of 2,260 kJ/kg, so even if a heat pump has a COP of 4 the energy needed is about 550kJ/litre of water. At typical power prices that equates to 3c per litre. Refrigerative water harvesters of sufficent capacity to cultivate a tiny garden are simply uneconomical with a water cost of at least 10C/litre when capital costs are included.

Systems that use water absorbing materials (dessicants) are more economical than refrigerative methods, but have low output and are not economical for agriculture, or for providing household water except as an emergency life sustaining situation.

Tribofuge on the other hand smashes the economics as it avoids the latent heat problem by harvesting only “low hanging fruit”, that is to say it gathers MDs, rather than condensing water vapour.


The TriboFuge can produce water 24 hours of a day, but just before dawn the air has cooled and the relative humidty approaches 100% (Dew Point), so Tribofuge produces most of its water just before dawn, and so the best economics for remote operation are to combine a TriboFuge with a PV and battery


The TriboFuge means remote villages can enjoy water without significant costs, TriboFuge can be used to water cattle, grow crops or even fill dams during the winter so that during the summer there is water ready to be used for cropping. Imagine the ever expanding deserts becoming the safe clean and secure breadbaskets for all.


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  • Name:
    Philip Hardcastle
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  • Philip is inspired by:
    Searching for real, viable and cost effective technologies that will help people live better lives, and with much lower environmental costs. I love the K.I.S.S approach, take a good idea and distill, and refine it, and do it again and again, until it is truly minimal and doable.
    My invention is cheaper, safer and better, it is K.I.S.S, and it inspires me, so I hope it inspires others and that they will adopt this.
    The World needs food and therefore reliable water production at low cost, my invention ticks all the boxes. Please vote for TriboFuge
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