By Eytan Holon
It might sound like a sophisticated magic trick or even a biblical story, but one Israeli company’s groundbreaking technology can create fresh drinking-quality water from nothing but plain air.
Established in 2009, Rishon Lezion-based Watergen is the ambitious company behind the development, tapping into atmospheric water to produce safe water wherever it is most needed.
“Our scientist developed the vehicle-integrated atmospheric water generator. It can be integrated in cars, buses, trains, yachts and ships. Now we are left just with airplanes, but we’ll manage this too,” said Mirilashvili.
“Recently, we had a visit from the Brazilian minister of science, former astronaut Marcos Pontes. He asked whether we can produce something to send into space. I hadn’t considered it, but we will try and think of something.”
Prior to Mirilashvili’s arrival at the company, its Israeli founders initially aimed to use the technology to reduce home appliance power consumption.
“They didn’t see the potential in generating water,” he said. “They already had collaborations with very large companies like Bosch and Siemens to implement the products inside their home appliances. There was money on the table. Personally, I can understand them, because tackling such a global issue without our strength and vision is very hard.”
While the technology is now firmly focused on tackling the global water shortage, the company has maintained the energy-efficient edge of its early-day designers and boasts the world’s most energy-efficient atmospheric water production system.
Whereas other commercially-available water generators rely on conventional air conditioning and dehumidifying technology to generate drinking water at rates ranging from 650 to 850 watt-hours per liter, Watergen produces safe drinking water at only 250Wh/L – or, in financial terms, a mere two to four cents per liter.
“My first priority is not how to make money but to help people, the planet and make kiddush hashem (sanctify God’s name),” said Mirilashvili. “Regarding the revenues, only God decides who makes money and how much.”