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11 Nov 2011: New Irrigation Device Pulls
Water From the Air in Driest Conditions

A student at Australia’s Swinburne University this week received the James Dyson Award for a device he says is capable of harvesting moisture from the air for use in irrigation, even in the world’s driest places. Developed by Edward Linnacre, the Airdrop is a wind- or solar-powered device that sucks air underground through a coiled metal pipe, where the cooler temperature of the surrounding soil slowly causes it to condense. The device ultimately collects the water in an underground tank before it is pumped back to the roots of nearby crops via a sub-surface drip irrigation system. According to Linnacre, a prototype that he developed in his mother’s backyard was able to produce about one liter of water per day. He hopes the technology can be used for agriculture in even the driest conditions. “There are water-harvesting technologies out there, but there’s very few low-tech solutions,” he said. “A low-tech solution is perfect for rural farmers, something that they can install, something that they can maintain themselves.” The James Dyson Award recognizes student engineering and design projects that solve a problem.
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