Dr. Amin Al-Habaibeh, a professor of Advanced Design and Manufacturing Technologies at Nottingham Trent University teamed up with a student to do something with old refrigerators and freezers, many of which still had old computer systems that were in good shape. Eventually, they created an upcycled fridge that could create its own water out of air.
"The idea of generating water from air is not totally new, but to utilize existing old domestic appliances to achieve this with a simple DIY modification is novel," Al-Habaibeh said. "I thought this was a good opportunity to integrate this research work with our Product Design teaching and design projects at Nottingham Trent University. So, I gave this research project to Joe Wild - one of our product design undergraduates - to take it forward and develop a prototype under my supervision, and Joe has done a great job."
The concept was based on using the cool refrigerator air to create condensation.
"The device is based on a simple modification to a normal fridge with simple copper pipes and a circulation fan (we used a computer fan in this case)," Al-Habaibeh said. "The design is mainly based on reusing old components and appliances. The main cost will be associated with the time needed for modification and the cost of any renewable energy components to power the fridge."
The upcycled fridges pull water from surrounding air. The water would have a similar quality that is produced by distillation, but it would be free of dissolved minerals. Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride, Sodium and Potassium would be added to the water through the process as needed.
"Our final aim is to provide instructions of how people can make such a machine, including the procedure and materials needed, over the internet so that people and communities around the world can build their own water generation systems," Al-Habibeh said. "By providing the concept, not only are we showing how simple design ideas can improve people’s lives, we’re also raising awareness of the issues of sustainability."