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Machine Turns Problem Humidity Into Drinking Water

Feb. 2, 2005 – The St. Croix Vocational and Technical School is producing its own water and the source is a natural element that is almost the only thing that is still free on earth — the air. On Tuesday, the St. Croix school demonstrated a water generator that produces pure drinking water by changing water vapor, or humidity, into liquid water.
And it solves another problem, too – the humidity in the air. Oliver explained, the condensation in the air caused water vapor to settle on the furniture, walls, equipment and library materials, causing mold to develop.
Humidity is one commodity that the Virgin Islands has in abundance. According to the Web site weatherbase.com, in February, the average temperature on St. Croix is 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average humidity of 63 percent. When you consider that 100 percent humidity causes rain, it is obvious that the islands have plenty of potential water hanging in the air.
Oliver explained that the school uses dehumidifiers, but the process is messy because the water collects in a tray that has to be dumped out.
With the new Liquid-Air unit system Oliver has been using the water produced to make coffee and tea and had even asked Paradise Bottling Company, the producers of locally made Brow soda, to donate some bottles which she filled with the drinking water. Oliver said the students and administration are getting used to the idea of water from the air. However, some people at the school are still skeptical.
The unit was donated to the school by John Edwards, an agent for Liquid-Air. The unit is similar to a bottle water dispenser without the bottle. And, according to Edwards, it can produce five to seven gallons of pure water a day by putting air through a filtering process that removes all air borne dust, particles and harmful bacteria from the air. The process also reduces the humidity and sanitizes air.
"My family drinks up to eight gallons of bottled water a week," Hugh Clark, a monitor at the school who was present at the demonstration, said. Clark said that at a cost of $1,000 a unit it would save his family money. "I would definitely buy one."
Clark said the unit is a plus for the school and he appreciated the work Oliver put into researching the product and getting one donated to the school.
Edwards said Liquid-Air, which has been on the market since 2001, is presently being used on cruise ships and in hotels in addition to other locations.
Larger units that have a capacity to produce over 20,000 gallons of water a day are presently being used in several countries. A newer more energy efficient home model which uses two amps of electricity instead of five amps, as does the current unit, will be on the market shortly. It's a product of the future,Edwards said.

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