Producing Water Out of Thin Air

Image: Video Still from FCB Mayo Perú

The first billboard that produces potable water from the air.

University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC), an engineering and technology university, wanted to recruit more students. Instead of placing the smiling faces of young graduates on a billboard, it created an ad that pulled moisture out of the air in Lima, Peru, which sees very little rain each year.

The team devised a plan to create a UTEC billboard that could convert the ultra humid air in Lima into potable water. It seems that, while the average humidity in Lima is a soggy 83 percent, the region only receives about a half inch of rain annually.

It seemed the perfect location for the project. Since sources of fresh water in Lima have depleted over the past several years, a source of water was certainly needed.

The billboard produces about 100 liters (or 26 gallons) of water daily. That means that over its first three months, the billboard system produced about 9,450 liters of water, which Mayo DraftFCB says is enough to equal the water consumption of hundreds of families each month.

It does all this just by using a basic filtration system, a bit of electricity, and gravity. The billboard’s filter pulls in the humid air and then condenses it, pushing it through carbon filters. It then collects the water at the bottom of the billboard.

As for the actual advertising component, the billboard shows a simple chart explaining how the filtration system pulls water from the air — along with the school’s logo. The purpose is to showcase the kind of innovative thinking that students will learn and encounter if they choose to attend UTEC.

The campaign does much more than simply try to draw attention. It is actually making a difference in the local community and that kind of innovative thinking is what can really get people to take notice.