In no place have the cataclysmic environmental effects of climate change been felt more strongly than southeastern Australia. There, a prolonged, 12-year drought has wrought havoc on local ecosystems and caused catastrophic damage to agriculture, which suffered record losses and sent rural communities into a tailspin.
Enter Australian inventor Edward Linnacre, a Swinburne University of Technology student who recognized the need for a simple solution to assist farmers in arid regions. To that end, Linnacre created the Airdrop, an "air harvester" that collects and distributes critical moisture to crops during droughts.
The dceptively lo-tech gadget, which landed Linnacre this year's James Dyson Award, filters hot air through a turbine and feeds it into the ground, where it cools and creates condensation. The collected water is then distributed through underground hosing to the plants' root systems, while the hot air is re-released back into the atmosphere. In times of low wind, the Airdrop's solar panel takes over as its power source.
On paper, you wouldn't think the process would produce much water. But the inverse is true. In his initial prototype, which was much smaller than the current design, Linnacre was able to produce a liter of water per day. And Linnacre's research shows that even the driest air can produce 11.5 millimeters of water per cubic meter.
(via Cool Hunting)