Yangchenphug HSS students find innovative way to harvest water from air

In a country where water crisis continues to worry people, a group of students from Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School in Thimphu has created a model that not only taps water from the air but also provides a more sustainable way to use it. The innovation offers an alternative source of fresh water.

This group of class 12 students came up with the idea as a response to the frequent water and sanitation issues that their school faces.

“Last year, we had an ‘Upshift Bootcamp’ programme where 70 students were trained on problem-solving and innovative skills. There, a group of us, students, came up with this idea to solve the improper sanitation and lack of water in our school,” said Tashi Norbu, one of the students from the group.

A year later, the students have a fully functioning model that can not only harvest water from the air but also offers solutions to use water sustainably.

The model uses Hydrofluorocarbon or HFC gas, commonly found in refrigerators, to cool a copper tube. As the temperature of the tube drops below zero, the moisture from the atmosphere freezes on it.

After the moisture from the air freezes on the copper tube, the temperature regulator kicks in and cuts off the supply of HFC to the tube. As the tube returns to room temperature, the ice melts, resulting in clean, drinkable water.

The students did not stop there. They have also come up with an idea to make toilets more energy and water-efficient by creating a smart toilet.

Powered by solar energy and a simple electric wire connection, it automatically switches on lights and flushes the toilet when entering and switches them off when leaving.

The students are determined to apply their ideas in school and hope to complete the work before they graduate.

“The implementation of our ideas is underway. We will be installing the automatic flushing system in the coming weeks. We plan to implement the ideas in the toilets here as well as in other schools,” said Ram Bhattarai, another student from the group.

With aspirations to go beyond their school, the group hopes to attract investors to further perfect their ideas and provide the world with an alternative source of fresh water.

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