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24 Jul

Hydroponic Growers, Get Your Water Out Of Thin Air

 

Hydroponic gardening rarely has a hard time selling itself. Pick any one of its defining features and you've got a pitch sure to rival most features of traditional agriculture. Its water efficiency alone has been enough to make more than a few modern farmers jump on the hydroponic bandwagon and it's all for good reason. Boasting 90% less water consumption than conventional farming methods, hydroponics stretches every drop to its full potential through closed systems that cycle flows of water over and over. But could this number be brought down even further? The answer is all around us.

Atmospheric water generation sounds a bit sci-fi. The fact of the matter...it is. If someone were to tell you that they could provide your facility with water just by using air, you'd most likely shrug them off as some loopy scam artist. Although it may seem like something out of Star Trek, this claim is actually true. "Vapor farms", as they are called, are part of a fledgling industry in the US that uses air, the most overlooked resource we have, as an asset.

Air has a moisture content, that is a well-known fact. But it took until the 21st century to at last figure out that this moisture is accessible. Understanding dew points and condensation have been key to bringing atmospheric water to market. Air is drawn into a filter where water vapor is trapped by an industrial condenser, evaporated and collected in a reservoir. To ensure the water is top quality, the vapor will undergo a series of purifications to remove sediment, kill any bacteria and balance pH.

It would be easy to write off this technology as some kind perpetual motion machine or free energy gizmo. In reality, there are 3.1 quadrillion gallons of water vapor covering the United States. This amounts to around ten feet of water readily available for harvest at any given time. Water generation is a natural fit for greenhouses and hydroponics since both systems are already closed and focused on minimizing water usage and the reduction of waste. Being off the grid is only one more advantage that would be sure to make any hydroponic grower keen on the technology.

Despite being a new innovation, water generation is not out of reach for the small producer. Units which yield 25 to 30 liters (6.6 gallons to 8 gallons) of water per day are on the market starting at $1,299 up to $2,195. If your production is larger scale, units which yield 200 liters (52.8 gallons) per day or more can be purchased for around $11,400 and up.

Next time someone asks expects you to pull something out of thin air, tell them you can. It's water and not only is it purified, it is sustainable and free. Just another selling point to convince the unconverted the power of indoor growing.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 12:49
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