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Yesterday was World Water Day – an annual observance day on 22 March to highlight the importance of freshwater. As Water is an essential building block of life, it is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health and is also vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development. Today, there are over 663 million people in the world living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.

To solve this crucial problem imperative to whole of humanity, a lot of work are being done to create water out of thin air or atmosphere. An Indian-American scientist Satish Kumar Nune is already conducting experiments with carbon-rich nanorods to make water out of thin air. An another effort in same is being done by Los Angeles-based XPRIZE, for two years, which is one such incentive competitions to solve this freshwater creation challenge. Called as Water Abundance XPRIZE, the competition is up for grabs to teams that can suck fresh water straight out of the air, and it just announced its five finalists and proudly an Indian startup Uravu that has developed a technology to create water from the air is among the five finalists. The competition supported by the Tata Group and Australian Aid is to create a device that extracts a minimum of 2,000 liters of water per day from the air using 100% renewable energy.

Based out of Hyderabad, Uravu will compete with four other startups in the final round of the Water Abundance XPRIZE, worth $ 1.75 million. The five finalists were selected from 98 teams in the previous round, from 25 countries, and will share a $250,000 milestone prize purse. The winners will receive $ 1.5 million, to be announced in August 2018.

Uvaru was founded in 2017 by five engineers – Swapnil Shrivastav, Amit, Bharath, Sandeep and Venkatesh. The startup has developed an innovative ‘aquapanel’ called S.W.A.G which harvests water from the air just by utilizing the power of the Sun. Its based on startup’s patent-pending solar adsorption reactor technology. Modular and scalable, it works efficiently even in dry and arid areas.

Uravu aquapanel

Uravu’s innovative aquapanel –
S.W.A.G

“Solving challenges around water not only requires amazing technology but also empathy and systems thinking,” a release from XPRIZE said on the Uravu team’s vision. Led by Swapnil Shrivastav, who is still an undergraduate, the Uravu team is developing a completely off-grid water from air device, spinning together the magic of material sciences and solar thermal energy,” the release said. A scalable device of this nature could revolutionize access to fresh water.

The XPRIZE finalists will begin round 2 testing in July 2018 at a location to be determined. During this phase, teams must fully demonstrate that their device can extract a minimum of 2,000 liters of water per day from the atmosphere using 100 percent renewable energy, at a cost of no more than two cents per liter, XPRIZE said. “At the end of this testing phase, the team whose solution enables the greatest ability to create decentralized access to water – giving people the power to access fresh water whenever and wherever they need it” will win the prize.

Notably, Uravu Labs is also one of the 12 shortlisted startups for ELECRAMA 2018 Start-up Awards, organized by Indian Electrical & Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA).

Via – The Hindu

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