Indian Start-up Maithri Aquatech Sets the World’s First Mobile ‘Water from Air Kiosk’
Owing to global warming and temperature changes, the water bodies are getting dried, reducing the freshwater available. Water scarcity is a serious concern as freshwater reservoirs are depleting and drying out rapidly. With an increased demand over supply, India is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, as the increasing water crisis has left millions of people without access to clean, drinking water.
However, various firms and individuals are trying to come up with unique ideas to remedy the situation. First of its kind, Hyderabad-based start-up Maithri Aquatech has installed an innovative kiosk in which mobile water is derived from the air, rather than depending on scarce groundwater or surface water resources.
The company has also set up ‘Water Knowledge Centre’ in the smart city of Vishakapatnam. Maithri Aquatech has partnered with the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) and has won the prestigious ‘FICCI Smart Urban Innovation Award’ in the ‘Smart Water Category’. It is recognised as an innovation that needs to be scaled up in all the cities and villages.
This initiative has been supported by Greater Vishakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) and project Sustainable Enterprises for Water and Health (SEWAH ) – an alliance between USAID and Sustainable Water Network (SWN).
Maithri Aquatech was established in 2016 by Ramakrishna Mukkavilli and Richard Rekhy to solve India’s growing water scarcity. Maithri Aquatech’s MEGHDOOT, meaning ‘Messenger of the skys’ – is a low-cost water generator from the atmosphere using refrigeration techniques to condense the atmospheric humidity.
This process is quite similar to the rain-cycle. It produces 100% microbe-free, potable mineralised water. The kiosk will also function as a water knowledge resource centre, creating necessary awareness and information for communities and schools on sanitation, hygiene practices and the benefits of clean water.
It follows a four-step process involving carbon filtration with activated charcoal, UV filtration, sediment filtration and adding minerals and provides clean water for consumption. This atmospheric water generator is powered by a solar energy system and can work without electricity, serving rural areas with low access to clean drinking water.
The system is capable of generating 1 million litres of water every single day. The water generated meets the World Health Organisation (WHO ) and the Indian standards of potable water. While inaugurating the kiosk on Beach Road, Vizag major Galagani Hari Venkata Kumari says that the idea is unique and would love to see more replication of this systems in tourist and rural areas.
According to Ramakrishna Mukkavali,
There are billions of gallons of water available in the atmosphere in the form of moisture. The beauty of it is that this is replenished several times a year. We use only 0.02% of the available moisture at any given point in time.
He further added that to create a sustainable future and conserve precious water resources, the team has developed an innovative technology that can generate water from atmospheric humidity on a cost-effective and scalable basis.
The system has been installed under the Southern Railways green initiative and water conservation measures in 2019. One such generator kiosk has been installed in Secunderabad railway station. The generator can produce 1,000 litres of water every day. The company is looking forward to expanding the project across Vishakhapatnam and other smart cities in the future.