Team: Dr Cristian Suau, Studio Pop
Portable Fog Water Station for Water-stressed Environments
STATE OF THE ART
Fog water collection is a simple and sustainable technology to obtain fresh water for irrigation and drinking for human and animal consumption. In remote coastal areas, where fresh water is limited and fog frequently occurs, fog collectors are viable passive water collections. Within the international scientific community, some researchers are focused in increasing the efficiency of fog water capture, based on the optimisation of their form, mesh geometry and surface properties (Andrews, Eccles, Schofield, & Badyal, 2011; De la Jara, 2011, Lorenceau, Clanet, & Quéré, 2004, Park, Chhatre, Srinivasan, Cohen, & McKinley, 2013, Piroird, Clanet, Lorenceau, & Quéré, 2009, Suau, 2010). There are other groups that aim to reduce building costs of 2D fog collectors by lowering materials and manufacturing costs (Cermak & Bendix, 2008; Imteaz, Alassan, Shanableh, & Naser, 2011; Kahinda & Taigbenu, 2011; Katata et al., 2008; Zhou & Du, 2010).
Finally, there are scientists promoting the improvement of water yield based on the selection of optimal fog sites with high water content (Cereceda & Larraín, 2003) by conduction numerical simulations and meteorological data process based on satellite and fieldwork data. However, all these planar fog catchers are structurally fragile and meshes don’t increase water yield: nets tear, pipes leak, and wind blow the whole structure over, steel frames and tensors normally corrode, and birds attack nets, ruining the process of water collection.
47% of the world’s population will live in water-stressed regions by 2030 (OECD, 2016). Regarding drinking water, about 14 million people in Europe do not enjoy access a basic drinking-water source, and 62 million people do not have access to piped water on premises. 7 out of 10 people without access to basic drinking-water sources live in rural areas. Inequalities exist in access to drinking-water and sanitation services, affecting mainly rural fragile communities (WHO European Region, 2015).
Generally, users of conventional fog catching technology are low-income rural villagers (FogQuest/Klemm, 2010). However advanced fog collection technologies can increase field to be used as alternative water harvesting for inter-generational groups of families and communities in rural settlements; innovative agro-production; forest fire prevention; and seasonal tourism in countryside and parks.
a. Explore innovative design solutions applied in advanced screens and frames with new or remanufactured materials like reclaimed/biodegradable plastics, metal structures.
b. Develop water technology –lightweight frame & hydrophobic screens- with digital simulations, industry-led lab trials, material/mock-ups tests and proof of concepts.
c. Integrate structural, textile and water performances
3DFOGTECH© is portable fog water station that collects condensed water drops from fog promoted by physical surface effects such as cooling, coalescence and condensation, without any active energy demand. It uses advanced polyhedral frames (towers), textile materials and surfaces formed by coating processes, and remote weather monitoring (sensors). Modular screens offer 6 times higher water yield efficiency than any conventional fog collection, which can provide 3-10 l/m²/day average of fog occurrence.
This portable water station can easily be installed in urban, rural and natural environments. It assists communities with frequent fog events in water-stressed areas of Spain, Europe and worldwide. It enables autonomous water management and sustainable living in waterless habitat against the unbalanced control and distribution of water in disadvantaged communities by facilitating clean water for drinking and irrigation. During the research phase, new space-frames will be made of aluminum tubes whilst light synthetic and biodegradable plastic polymers -remanufactured or biodegradable nets- will be experimented.
Regarding geometrical, economical and climatic attributes of previous precedents, 3DFOGTECH© is a systemic water enhancement technology. It is the first 3D portable fog water station in the world. It is an agile and autonomous water management solution for water-stressed areas with frequent dense fog events. Its form follows wind multi-directionality offering higher water productivity. Due to it is light and modular, it is easier and quicker to install than any planar solutions in remote rural and natural contexts.
Previous research development stage, has been focused in the design of modular, affordable and light space-frames to facilitate more clean water for drinking and irrigation that any traditional fog collector. Based on new light structure and advanced hydrophobic textile screens, 3DFOGTECH© will augment at least six times more water harvesting during fog occurrence. Frame will use aluminum as light, strong, durable and flexible material whilst meshes will use light coloured water-repellent textiles. Trails will be tested in digital simulations, labs and fog sites.
The methodology is research by design, with theoretical, empirical and design-based tools:
a. Literature review/precedent studies: technical comparison between 2D vs. 3D fog collectors.
b. Climate data collection: Fieldwork/climatic analysis. Climate data collection: fog sites.
d. Design simulation: Parametric design (space-frames); CAD modelling w/ modular building details.
e. Structural test + mock-ups: Mock-ups w/ screen size: 1m x 1m will be constructed and tested at LEITAT labs/workshops and secondments.
f. Textile test: Sampling on surface area (adsorption parameters, etc.) between selected conventional vs. advanced textiles.
g. Water yield/quality test: Fog water collection in selected fog sites (diurnal/nocturnal fog occurrence; results are expressed in ). Chemical and microbiological analysis of water samples. Tests will be analysed at LEITAT, Environmental Division.
h. Measurement tools: portable standard fog collector (SFC) or neblinometer [1:1 screen ratio + 1M2 area], monitored by a remote weather station with sensors, data logger, anemometer and pluviometer.
i. 3DFOGTECH© design research parameter: a. Climate: Wind speed/direction, air temperature, radiation UV, fog water content, relative humidity; b. Topography: Crestline, altitude, slope, clearance (physical obstacles), upwind orientation; c. Structure: screen ratio (height/length); height from ground, volume geometry, frame type; d. Textiles