Study on potable water extraction via heterogeneous condensation from the ambient air in dry regions


A preliminary study shall be conducted to evaluate the potential of an innovative method for potable water extraction from the ambient air via heterogeneous condensation (water condensation on particle surfaces) in regions with water shortage.

For that purpose, IGTE currently develops a novel appliance (patent application: DE 10 2018 222 504.4) which will realize a condensation on particle surfaces via adiabatic expansion of the ambient air.

The procedure is based on several principles of fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. The ambient air is transported by ventilators via a specifically developed geometry. Local pressures and temperatures change, resulting in an oversaturation of the humid air and initiating a condensation of the vapor. However, in case of minor oversaturations, the condensation initially occurs only on the surfaces of particles in the air. Around those aerosoles, droplets grow and shall be separated and collected as potable water in a subsequent process step.

Principle of heterogeneous condensation and subsequent electrostatic droplet separation
Principle of heterogeneous condensation and subsequent electrostatic droplet separation

One of the main objectives of this study is to derive boundary conditions in order to drive that process as efficiently as possible. The extremely complex, heterogeneous condensation in the appliance is to be analyzed by CFD simulations.


Project partner

Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW),
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Powalla

This image shows Dr.-Ing. Tobias Henzler

Dr.-Ing. Tobias Henzler


Coordinator of Teaching; Team Lead

To the top of the page