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Entrepreneur invents device that turns air into potable water for communities in need: 'The atmosphere is just like your tap'

"It's purposely designed to seek out the H2O molecule and create water for human consumption."

"It’s purposely designed to seek out the H2O molecule and create water for human consumption."

Photo Credit: Moses West Foundation

According to a United Nations report, more than one in four people in the world does not have access to clean drinking water. But there is water all around us, in the form of water vapor in the air — and one entrepreneur has invented a device to pull that water out of the air and convert it into clean drinking water for people in need.

In a segment on NBC5 Chicago, entrepreneur Moses West explained how his creation, called an Atmospheric Water Generator, works. "It's purposely designed to seek out the H2O molecule and create water for human consumption," West said.

When the hosts compared West's device to a dehumidifier, he clarified that the difference between the two pieces of technology is that his invention uses less energy than a dehumidifier to create pure, drinkable water.

The machine can be powered by solar energy, like hydropanels, or "however you like," West said.

West's nonprofit foundation collects donations and uses them to construct the devices, which he then delivers to communities in need. He says he has already delivered them to Puerto Rico; Flint, Michigan; Sand Branch, Texas; and to the United States military. Currently, he said the foundation is working to get clean water to community urban gardens in Chicago to help reduce the city's food deserts.

West said that his machine can generate 2,200 gallons of drinkable water per day, and he has plans to scale that up massively in the future.

The technology, he said, can work anywhere in the world. "Now the atmosphere is just like your tap," West said. "Except we're tapping the water in the air … Dry, wet, cold — what we've developed here in Chicago with research and development is we've made this a global technology to work from the North Pole to the South and everything in between."

West's Atmospheric Water Generator is not the first such device ever invented; other examples include a 3D-printed device called Spout, which performs the same function on a smaller scale, and the Watergen ON Board, along with the aforementioned hydropanels, which work a bit differently. But while those devices are sold commercially, West is fully focused on delivering them to the places that need it most, free of charge.

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