Hello BEST members,

Just last year, Peru’s University of Engineering and Technology 
partnered with ad agency Mayo DraftFCBand to design a billboard that 
creates clean water from atmospheric humidity through the process of 
reverse osmosis.

Lima, Peru is the second largest capital (~7.5 million residents) set 
on a dessert. Lima receives less than two inches of rain per year and 
has an atmospheric humidity of around 98%. One of the biggest issues in 
Lima is water insecurity. It is said that around 700,000 people lack 
access to safe drinking water and another 600,000 people rely on 
cisterns, which require high maintenance.

As well, UTEC faced a problem of their own-- a decrease in enrollment. 
Inspired by both problems, UTEC and Mayo DraftFCBand worked together to 
create the first billboard to produce potable water out of air. Simply 
put, the billboard consists of five condensers that capture the air 
humidity and after reverse osmosis purification, all the water flows 
into a 20 liter tank. The billboard is said to generate around 96 liters 
of water per day.

Although only one billboard was built, the idea is that billboards such 
as the one stationed in the Bujama District of Lima could be dispersed 
in many areas where clean water is not easily accessible. The billboard 
is a dual-purpose technology--it serves as a sustainable water 
infrastructure and is an effective use of advertisement. In the case for 
the billboard stationed in Lima, the advertisement has helped not only 
increase UTEC’s enrollment by 28% but also help offset the cost 
barrier for the overall structure. As well, the billboard has 
successfully produced 9450 liters in 3 months which contributes to the 
water consumption of hundreds of families per month.

Smith-Strickland, Kiona. "A Billboard That Makes Clean Drinking 
Water."Popular Mechanics. N.p., 25 Apr. 2013.


Kimberly D. Hafner
Undergraduate Intern
2014 BioEnergy & Sustainability School
Soil and Water Science Department
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