Out Of Thin Air

Could a Ford turn into a source of drinking water?

Imagine if your car could convert condensation into clean, drinkable water as you drove. It sounds far-fetched, but this game-changing technology could soon become a reality. In 2013, Ford engineer Ken Miller read in a Ford Future Trends Report about a billboard in Lima, Peru, that condensed water from the air and dispensed it to residents via a spigot. He asked his colleague Doug Martin, a Ford powertrain controls engineer, if this could spark a Ford innovation. Martin thought, “Well, cars go through air, too.” So they invented and patented the billboard’s automotive equivalent.

Their invention? The experimental technology On-the-Go H20, which collects condensation from a vehicle’s AC system. The water pools in a reservoir, then is filtered and released through a faucet attached to the central-console cup holder. While this would be useful for drivers everywhere—and reduce the use of plastic water bottles—it could most directly benefit the 783 million people worldwide who lack access to clean drinking water, says Martin. “It would be exciting to see this go into production,” he adds, “and make a difference.” 

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