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Generating drinking water from air, Akvo’s products desgined for deployment in coastal and hilly areas

Akvo’s products are designed for deployment in coastal and hilly areas with 30-80% humidity factor

By Srinath Srinivasan

We have all learned about the process of condensation in school. It is also one of the ways in which the International Space Station generates drinking water for astronauts. A lot of scientific agencies have been trying to use the phenomenon to solve water scarcity at scale across the globe with no major success. However, it hasn’t come down to the level of a typical consumer product.

Akvo Atmospheric Water Systems has been working since 2016 to design and manufacture a product which would utilise the moisture in the air and condense it to produce fresh drinking water. “We wanted to create an equipment that would fit into daily life and generate water locally for various requirements. Our equipment has a refrigeration system and heat exchangers which help achieve right temperatures to form condensate when air is sucked and brought into the system. The condensate is then collected and dispensed for use,” explains Navkaran Singh Bagga, founder and CEO of the company. With an initial investment of Rs 5 crore, bootstrapped to the founding team, it manufactures its products in West Bengal and has been selling them in the market since May 2018.

The products are designed to run at temperatures ranging from 10-degree Celsius to 60-degree Celsius with humidity factor of 30-80%, making it a viable model to deploy in coastal and hilly areas, especially in tropical countries that are rich in atmospheric moisture content. “The machines are rated for different run times and generation capacities. For example, one model can run for 24 hours and produce 100 litres in ideal condition. It draws 250Wh of energy per litre of water generated which also reduces the stress on the grid when runs on power generated from localised renewable sources,” says Bagga.

Akvo sells its products to small enterprises, building complexes, large households, etc. One of the early adopters is Indian Oil refinery in Haldia, near Kolkata. The product has helped decentralise water availability on a massive 300-acre area, enabling workers to access drinking water at six locations. The Madhya Pradesh government has also taken a 1000-litre system to supply water to Hardua Mangarh village in Damoh district. The company is also expanding to West Asia. Bagga says the Gulf region will be his major focus in the next couple of years. Currently, the company has a revenue of around Rs 1.5 crore but with an expanding distribution network and new markets in the Gulf, it expects to hit its target of Rs 12 crore in the coming financial year.