Creating water from thin air

Article image - Creating water from thin air The Hydropanel uses sunlight to extract water from air.

As technology becomes more integrated into our lives, it’s important for councils to harness its potential to better serve the needs of their communities and improve services. 

Georges River Council, New South Wales, is utilising the latest of these technologies to generate water from air using sunlight.

In December 2018, Council installed the first Hydropanel array in Sydney, consisting of eight panels on the roof of the Hurstville Aquatic Centre in Penshurst. 

The centre is Council’s busiest community facility, with over 1.2 million visitors per annum.

The Hydropanel array is a world first, and is completely self sufficient and off grid. 

The panels incorporate solar PV and a small battery, which enable water production when the sun shines and water delivery on cloudy days or at night. 

Mayor, Kevin Greene, said, “By trialling this technology, Georges River Council is doing its bit as a global citizen.  

“This technology has far reaching implications – it could bring valuable drinking water to areas within Australia and around the world where water scarcity is a real issue.”

The panels extract water vapour from the air, which flows through a mineral block composed of magnesium and calcium to enhance the flavour of the water.

Water inside the reservoir is continuously disinfected using an ozone pump powered by the solar array. 

Reservoirs have an overflow function when full, with excess water flowing into nearby drainage facilities.

To date, the panels have generated approximately 2500 litres of clean, drinkable water for users to fill up their reusable water bottles.  

The facility has the potential to save 2400 bottles of water per month, which offsets over 400,000 single use plastic bottles over their 15 year lifetime.

Georges River Council is emerging as a Smart City hub where new and innovative technology is being trialled and tested for larger scale implementation. 

Council has very well established Solar PV systems reducing its overall energy consumption from the grid, and has installed Smart Street Furniture at three outdoor locations across its town centres.

Three ChillOUT hubs for community members are set to be installed, which will reduce the impact of heat island effect in city centres. These areas increase community connectivity, and provide flexible spaces for work and play.