U.S. Water News Online
FARNBOROOUGH HAMPSHIRE, United Kingdom -- The idea of
quenching your thirst by drinking water from a car's exhaust might
seem unlikely, but new technology could soon make it a reality.
If a new research project reaches fruition, parched desert-bound
soldiers and humanitarian workers will be able to use their diesel
engines to hydrate.
The same technology may one day be commercially available for
vehicle exhausts, allowing us to greatly reduce airborne pollution
from burning fossil fuels.
"I think it will be cost effective in a humanitarian situation or
chemical battle zone or where emissions need to be reduced," Vincent
Watson from UK-based defense research firm QinetiQ told CNN.
Diesel combustion produces a lot of water vapor, carbon soot and
QinetiQ found that by wrapping a small refrigerated water jacket
around a vehicle's exhaust pipe, dirty water can be condensed from
the emissions. And for every liter of diesel consumed, 0.89 liters of
black water is collected.
Admittedly it takes a lot of filtering before the liquid even
looks clear and then it is still high acidity. "But some soft drinks
are considerably more acidic," adds Watson.
The system still needs a lot of development so that the water is
pure enough to meet international drinking standards, and is neither
acidic nor alkaline.
The scientists working on the project are hoping to scale up their
initial shell and tube condenser so that its design, filtration and
purification ability is ready for commercial usage.
The device also removes particles and potentially some of the
chemical pollution from the exhaust gases.
This means that it could be used to reduce air pollution from all
combustion engines, especially in big cities with permanent low lying
smog clouds such as in Rome and Rio De Janeiro.
The system also works on petrol, paraffin, fuel oil and gas. What
is left from burning the fossil fuel is also cold, therefore there is
no heat pollution.
"In fact we started this project about six months before the Iraq
war, the U.S. military are also doing something as well," says
And the U.S. Department of Defense has already announced their
In a statement they said that within the next five to 10 years,
troops would be able to sit in their combat vehicles, make water by
burning diesel fuel and use that water to reconstitute their food.
In a statement, Gerald Darsch, of the Army Soldier and Biological
Chemical Command, called water "a logistical nightmare" on the
battlefield because of it takes a lot of room to transport and weighs
"So if we can generate water on the battlefield, it's a good thing
in terms of reducing the logistics pipeline," he said.
Roughly 80 percent of the material that is deployed in the
battlefield consists of water and fuel.
In desert battlefields, soldiers require up to 10 liters of
drinking water a day.
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