Creating drinking water from just sunlight and air

White text that reads 'Earth Unscrewed' over an image of a rough sea
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
27 November 2019

Clean drinking water is scarce – and getting scarcer. So what if water could be made renewable, highly distributed and infrastructure free? 

In this week’s episode of Earth Unscrewed, Cody Friesen, CEO of Zero Mass Water, discusses how his company is taking air and sunlight and turning it into drinking water – and why this technology could fundamentally change the world. 

The Arizona based start-up are building and selling SOURCE solar panels, which harvest drinking water from just sunlight and air.

On average each panel is able to produce five litres per day – taking water vapour out of the air, concentrating it in the panels, and dispensing it to drinking taps. 

White text over an image of waves, that reads 'We need to unscrew the planet and allow for resources (such as drinking water) to be deployed in a way that doesn't result in dramatically more natural resource extraction - Cody Friesen, CEO, Zero Mass Water
Image by Virgin

With clean drinking water becoming an increasingly pressing issue, and with water demands expected to increase significantly in the coming years (by 400 per cent from manufacturing and 130 per cent through household use by 2050), it’s never been more urgent to address water scarcity. 

In this episode presenters, Helen Scales & Seyi Rhodes, speak to Cody about why this technology is so important and about how we get to a place of not just renewable electricity, but more generally ‘renewable resources’.

Earth Unscrewed graphic

Listen to Earth Unscrewed

Earth Unscrewed is Virgin’s podcast about the incredible (and often surprising!) solutions that are providing some serious hope for the future of our planet.