We can get power from wind turbines and solar panels, but what if we sort of combine the two and have hydropanels? A company called Zero Mass Water has created this device, dubbed Rexi Source, and presented it at CES 2020. It looks like a solar roof panel, but it doesn’t provide energy; it gives you drinkable water from the air.
It might sound too good to be true and you might get skeptical about it, but you should know that this isn’t the company’s first ever product. Zero Mass Water has produced an earlier version of Rexi which is meant for commercial purposes. Those panels are producing clean water for schools, businesses, and houses in many regions across the world.
So after making their products specifically designed for large scale, the company has launched the smaller version so people can install it in their houses.
Hydropanels work like this: the panel takes moisture from the air, absorbs it into a hygroscopic material and then condenses it into pure water. Once the panel creates water, the device adds minerals like calcium and magnesium and after everything’s ready, Rexi pumps water directly to the house, skipping your city or town’s water utilities altogether. With this, there’s a high chance that your water won’t be contaminated.
Also, Rexi is solar-powered, equipped with cloud-based sensors and a cellular connection. As Rexi owners, you can track the performance of your device, the quality of their water, and the available amount of water stored in each Hydropanel’s reservoir through your smartphone. Zero Mass can have data analysis such as detailed water-quality knowledge and automated optimization features as well as identify faults.
If you’re the busy type, then you’ll think Rexi suits you the most because the maintenance is minimal. The device’s air filter needs replacing once a year, and the mineral cartridge every five years (for about $100).
Now, I’m not going to lie and only tell you the great things about this device, because there are some downsides and things you should note down. Rexi only produces about 4 litres a day, even less in really dry climates, so this panel isn’t a complete freshwater replacement.
In fact, Zero Mass markets this device as a way to take control of the water you drink while making it risk-free. So if you really care about the water you drink or if you have some health issues, it’s perfect for you.
Additionally, the price range is high. Rexi costs $2,500, and that doesn’t cover installation which is estimatedly around $1,000. The panel needs a big reservoir, which will take up space somewhere underneath your roof, and might complicate the installation.
And, when the weather gets too cold, this device will go into “hibernate” mode to prevent damage, meaning you won’t get water during the winter. Might not be a problem for areas without winter seasons, but it’s still a bit of an inconvenience.
But of course, one can’t be perfect all the time. This Rexi is a smaller, more refined version of the 2017 type of hydropanel with higher efficiency rates. And despite the limitations, the market for the Rexi looks clear, from remote residences to the eco-conscious to people who simply may not trust their local water utility.
Also, if you’re planning to go off-grid and you want independent access to drinking water, then you can have it in sustainable and relatively low-cost way. If you’re eco-conscious and you want clean water for you and your family, then Rexi is a good choice nonetheless.
Zero Mass Water has a water solution called Source Fields. According to the company, this brings their mission to make drinking water an unlimited resource to life. Source Fields is a large-scale Hydropanel arrays that create an ongoing supply of water for communities and businesses.
Because of the hydropanels’ ability to operate independently, Source Fields can be deployed virtually anywhere in the world and are capable of producing millions of litres of renewable drinking water at a single site annually.
It has two different models. One is called Water Purchase Agreement, where customer contracts for a certain amount of water per month and pays in real time for the water produced. The other one is direct purchase of a Source Field and ownership of the water produced in its entirety.
With these two payment models, customers have a lot of flexibility and the company can increase the accessibility of Source Fields to global stakeholders through “switch and save” opportunities.
According to the company, these models can also reduce the consumption of PET bottles and connect communities to clean drinking water that is more effective and affordable than centralized infrastructure models.
So far, Zero Mass Water has four fully operating Source Fields to provide water to nearby communities and businesses. Several others are currently in development and construction. The four Source Fields are located in Arizona, Australia, and Dubai.
There are two Source Fields in Dubai for two companies, Platinum Heritage and Blue Eyes. The former, which is known for their sustainable desert safaris and their highlight of local Emirati culture and heritage, has an array creating up to 182,500 liters of water annually.
Their access to an onsite Source Field enables them to sustainably create drinking water for its guests in the arid Arabian desert, no longer relying on long-distance water deliveries from desalination plants.
As for Blue Eyes, a packaged water brand that is differentiating itself by launching the only renewable water product available in the local market, their array creates up to 1 million liters of water annually. Renewable water is quite important in Dubai, since all of its drinking water is created through desalination, which is expensive, energy-intensive, and detrimental to marine life. This can be an inspiration for a green startup or business!
In Queensland, the array creates up to 1 million liters of water annually, which is used by a premium water bottling company called Waddi Springs. The company prides itself for its localized, non-extractive, and responsibly packaged water.
While in Arizona, a Source Field creates up to 182,500 liters of water annually, servicing local businesses, such as restaurants and grocery stores. Phoenix is introducing sustainably sourced renewable drinking water as an alternative to tap and plastic bottled water in a metropolitan area known for droughts and water stress.
What do you think of this device? Tell us in the comments.