In “Star Wars,” one of the most important materials on the planet of Tatooine is water. The desert planet is so barren that special machines are built just to harvest any kind of moisture out of the air and condense it into water. Owen Lars, Luke Skywalker’s uncle, was a farmer working the moisture vaporators, and having to settle for a protocol droid that was familiar with the language of binary load lifters, which were similar to binary vaporators in most respects. And now that technology of the moisture vaporator can be yours in your own back yard!
The concept is well grounded in the science behind condensation; moisture in the air can collect into a liquid form around temperature changes like a cold soda can on a warm day. To achieve this effect on a larger scale, coolant coils are placed in a housing unit that creates condensation, after which the water is collected in a basin and purified for the purpose of drinking or tending to lawns and plants. That’s also what makes the device different from a dehumidifier in that the latter seeks to pull moisture from the air in general, while the former aims to make it drinkable.
As discussed by KTLA in Los Angeles, due to drought conditions in California, there is more and more of a demand for machines like this; especially as water conservation efforts becoming increasingly more important. Home owners who want to water their lawn may not be able to do so as frequently as they’d like to as the need for water for drinking, cooking, and cleanliness take precedence; and even that can be a concern as reservoirs start to dry up.
There are drawbacks to all of this though. For starters, unlike the moisture vaparators in “Star Wars” that can draw moisture out of desert air, our atmospheric water generators work far better in areas with moisture and humidity; like along the coast line. Additionally, just like how air conditioners are energy hogs, the same can be said about these moisture extraction devices, especially given they work around similar technology in a way.
How much do these magic alchemy boxes cost? Apparently anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000 depending on the size of the unit. This of course, doesn’t include the energy cost of having to run them, which means that these are not going to be an optimal solution for those who are in desperate need of more water; in fact, those who can afford them are probably able to financially support themselves enough to where they don’t need to worry about a lack of drinking water in general.
As is rightly pointed out by ecologists and other researchers the technology we use to cool the air is just superheating the planet even more. Ultimately, the use of these atmospheric water generators isn’t going to help the problem in the long run unless they can all be powered by eco-friendly means. Even then, it’s the equivalent of treating the symptoms of an illness without actually curing the infection. The problem behind it all is climate change, and if we don’t fix that, then we’ll have all the undrinkable water we can ask for if we end up in “Waterworld.”
Of course once we hit that point we’ll need those devices that can turn our pee into drinkable water. Oh wait…looks like we already have those.