Making Water from Air 10/13/2014 12:00:00 AM by Matt Kettmann
Though it sounds assuredly space age, turning air into water isn’t really a new technology at all. Refrigerators rely on the basic concept of chilling the nearby atmosphere into a liquid form, and even ancient peoples were known to employ massive sails in harvesting H2O from their seemingly arid skies. But by fine-tuning the filtration process and developing a slick, user-friendly device, the Los Angeles–based company Skywell plans to turn the technology into an everyday drinking-water solution for the office, if not a way to help save the world’s water woes.
Jonathan Carson, a cofounder of Skywell, said, “1970 sci-fi has become 21st-century reality,” as he unveiled the company’s “air water dispenser” during a recent event at the Hotel Indigo, where he reminded that Luke Skywalker’s character in Star Wars was a “moisture farmer” before becoming a Jedi. Along with cofounders Ron Dorfman (who invented the technology over the past decade) and Eric Kurtzman (Carson’s former partner at a renowned tech consulting firm), Carson’s goal is “to be positively impacting our global water crisis through focused entrepreneurship.”
During the September 10 event, Carson gave a TED-like talk to about 30 people in attendance as they sipped on Skywell water, flavored with blackberry and sage, strawberry and Meyer lemon, or grapefruit and rosemary. Most were from Santa Barbara businesses interested in buying the device, which can track how many plastic bottles are being saved and how much individuals are hydrating themselves. Plans for a mobile app are also forthcoming, and companies can post their own logos on the front screen for branding purposes. It’s also the hottest and coldest water available on the market, according to the Skywell team.