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Water-producing billboard designed to inspire


February 26, 2013

The University of Engineering and Technology and MAYO-DRAFT FCB have constructed an advertising billboard that converts moisture from humid desert air into drinkable water

The University of Engineering and Technology and MAYO-DRAFT FCB have constructed an advertising billboard that converts moisture from humid desert air into drinkable water

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The University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima, Peru has partnered with advertising agency MAYO-DRAFT FCB to create an advertising billboard that grabs moisture from the desert air and converts it into filtered drinking water.

The city of Lima doesn't usually get much in the way of rainfall, but can suffer from humidity as high as 98 percent. The UTEC/MAYO collaboration has come up with a novel way to help local residents who are only able to get drinking water from often polluted wells, while also generating interest in the study of engineering at the university, where admissions are due to start on March 3.

An advertising billboard erected along the Pan-American Highway is also home to some hidden harvesting, conversion and purification mechanisms (including an air filter, condenser, carbon filter and cold tank). The electric system takes moisture from the humid air by means of reverse osmosis and delivers purified drinking water through small ducts at the foot of the billboard, and down to a tap at the base of the structure.

The billboard is reported capable of producing 96 liters (over 25 gallons) of water every day for the locals, or for travelers who stop for refreshment, and has already notched up an impressive 9,450 liters (2,496 gallons) of potable water out of thin air since its installation in December 2012.

The video below outlines the project.

Source: UTEC via Behance

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Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Namibian diamond miners hated "pure" water so much (derived from their reverse osmosis systems), that they paid enormous sums to import mineral water from overseas for their drinking.


I would imagine that if you are in a desert any water would be welcome, pure or mineral laced. Reminder that man crawling across the sand dunes, croaking: gin and tonic; gin and tonic! The output from that sign is very impressive. Could they be solar powered?

David Clarke

I live in an arid region caused by a rain shadow so I worry about where the water would have ended up left up to nature.


Perhaps they could get the advertising revenue to pay for the cost of maintenance and running the generators for the local communities the billboards are placed in.

Sadly, i think this was nothing more than a proof of concept and marketing stunt and will not be replicated elsewhere in greater numbers.


With the high humidity levels it would not take a big temperature differential to condense the water out of the air. It should be possible to use a solar chimney to move the air through the condenser and the weight of the water to drive the compressor or generator if they used a solid state heat pump. A ground loop wouldn't take much energy to circulate the coolant.


This is an awesome find and concept coupled by something like v3 solar. It could be used by big corps who want to get their marketing into the 3rd world and do it ethically providing the water for free.

Aaron Baker
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