With the global population estimated to surpass 9 billion people by 2050, U.S. farmers and food suppliers are facing unprecedented pressure to grow even more of the crops that clothe, fuel and feed our own nation as well as contributing to the rest of the world. Increasingly, growers are turning to sustainable practices such as crop rotation and the adoption of practices to improve the quality of water and soil.
But another area growing in importance is the discovery of new technologies to bring the main utilities required for farming – pure water and electricity – to new locations where farming hasn’t been feasible before. Approximately 20% of the world’s land mass is barren, or non-arable, land.
Getting water and energy to more of these areas increases the land available for food production and helps to combat the growing risk of food scarcity.
A science and innovation company we spoke with from Salt Lake City, Utah, has launched a solution that may help. Chaac Technologies has developed a novel technology extracts water and power directly from the atmosphere with a patent-pending, environmentally friendly, and affordable system for commercial agriculture and farming businesses. The technology comprises what the company believes may be the first fully sustainable and distributed utility grid.
When implemented, the technology will aim to give growers access to areas that haven’t been suitable for farming before through systems that can either retrofit to existing greenhouse infrastructures (e.g., hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, or vertical farms) to reduce crop loss incurred by high-humidity and low air-flow, or can be used for agribusiness production in formerly non-arable areas of the U.S. and the world.
The company is currently finalizing contracts with at least three major agribusiness providers, CEO Jake Hammock told American Reporter, to produce fresh water, electricity, heat and compressed air for commercial farms and agricultural business. Hammock anticipates the first operating model by the end of this year with broad market availability in 2021.
When integrated into greenhouse infrastructure, he says, the system will also regulate airflow and temperature to enhance and sustain healthy crop production.
The system draws water from the air to create renewable energy from pneumatic power generation. In the process, it also helps communities breathe easier, Hammock said, through a process for water and energy production that doesn’t produce carbon and removes solid waste particulates from the air.
Here’s how the technology works: Growers can use renewable energy or any other energy source to initiate the operation. Chaac’s solution compresses ambient air in any location with 40 percent or higher humidity, and squeezes out the water, like a sponge, in four steps:
- The mechanism forces air into a smaller volume, which increases the pressure and the temperature of the air.
- The compressed air grows warmer as the pressure increases.
- Lower-temperature ambient air cools the hot compressed air.
- Finally, a small decrease in temperature puts the compressed air in a saturated state, allowing full separation of air and water.
The pure water is then available for use and the excess energy and heat can return to the system or move to the grid. Additionally, commercial and industrial developers could ultimately use the technology to convert buildings and infrastructure into micro-substations that produce added power during water generation process that building owners could move to the grid to save or to sell.
In addition to U.S. implementation, the company has also met with government ministers in the United Arab Emirates who’ve expressed interest in using the system to bring water and power to six countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation.
Hammock introduced the technology to the U.S. in an April interview on Fox News and a recent interview on the streaming program “To the Point” with Eric Mitchell.