A long time ago David Hertz learned that if you have the right conditions, it’s easy to make fresh drinking water, even out of thin air. Which led him to make and put a device on the roof of his office, that provided him with this fresh drinking water, that he then bottled and gave out to anyone who looked like they needed a drink.
But soon after this happened, Hertz along with his wife, Laura Doss-Hertz, started thinking on a much larger scale. In fact, this scale was so large, that last week, they managed to win the XPrize For Water Abundance, which is about $1.5 million. And they made this achievement by making a system that used some shipping containers, some wood chips and other types of waste so they could produce up to 528 gallons of water per day, which cost them no more than 2 cents per quarter gallon. Which is a definite bargain.
The prize that they won was created a while ago by a bunch of entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and it’s awarded over $140 million since it was founded. Furthermore, the prize is only awarded to ideas that are incredibly futuristic and daring and are aimed at protecting the environment. Finally, the very first prize, back when it was founded in 2004, was awarded to Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and Burt Rutan, an aviation pioneer. They received $10 million for the first privately financed and manned space flight, named SpaceShipOne.
So when Hertz heard of the prize and learned that the next time it was going to be awarded, it would be to an invention that produces cheap and clean drinking water, he decided to apply. During that time, the machine on the roof of his office was making about 150 gallons of water per day, which was then distributed to the homeless people living around Venice Beach. With his wife, they made the big machine and set out to create small rainstorms in the shipping containers, by heating up the wood chips in order to increase the temperature and the humidity. This would then, in turn, draw out all of the necessary water from both the air itself as well as the wood. And the final bonus is that there are plenty of shipping containers to go around for anyone that needs one, and that they are both cheap and easy to move.
With this outlandish invention, it’s possible to provide water in regions that have been struck by natural disasters, drought, or even areas where there’s a shortage of clean water. And the couple plans to use the winning money on further development and the deployment of machines like the one they invented, so as many people as possible can have access to clean drinking water.