Chilean startup using PV to produce potable water from humidity


From pv magazine LatAm

Chilean startup Lader Energy has commissioned the first solar project that is able to produce 10 thousand liters of water per month from the humidity in the air.

The system in San Fernando, Chile, is based on hydropanels, which combine solar PV energy with solar thermal energy. The hydropanels can capture the humidity from the air and, following a condensation process, produce water.

In 2019, we took the first three hydropanels to Chile to test and validate the technology,” Andres Vasquez, the director of business development at Lader Energy, told pv magazine. “After a year it gave us incredible results and that is how the idea of ​​bringing this to a business model that is scalable.”

In the construction of the first plant, they have invested $250,000. According to the company, around 10,000 liters of 100% renewable water can be produced per month.

US manufacturer Zero Mass Water by Source is supplying the module technology.

“Within the same panel it is mineralized with calcium and magnesium,” Vásquez said. “To this technology, we add a system of various water filtration and recirculation processes that are fed by a solar installation.”

He said the process ensures that a high quality water is produced, thanks to an ultraviolet light disinfection system and an activated carbon filter with coconut fibers.

Lader Energy's first plant features 62 hydropanels, with a production capacity of 10,000 liters per month. That equals production of 33,000 containers per month in this first phase.

“The water will be sold in retail, boutique shops, mini-markets, restaurants, different marketplaces and, of course, on our own website,” Vazquez said, noting that the price will be in the CLP 800 ($1.13) range.

The company now plans to expand the first plant and aims to triple production this year. It also hopes to install another plant in Colombia, near Medellín. “By 2022 the goal is to build two more plants in Chile, a second in Colombia and open in Peru,” Vázquez said.

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