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Airdrop irrigation system, the lo-tech future for drought stricken agricultural areas

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article image The Airdrop irrigation system literally harvests the moisture from the air
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An inspirational lo-tech solution to irrigation in extremely dry agricultural areas has taken out this years James Dyson Award.

Inspired by a study of the Namib beetle and developed in response to the devastating effects of drought, Airdrop is the brain child of Australian Edward Linacre, a student of Swinburne University in Melbourne.

With Australia experiencing severe drought in recent years, Edward Linacre wanted to create a lo-tech irrigation solution that any rural farmer could use. What he created was exactly that, and the Airdrop requires no specialised installation techniques and farmers can easily install and maintain this irrigation equipment.

There are several atmospheric water harvesting technologies in existence, however, most are hi-tech and can be costly, making them none too appealing to the rural farmer.

The self-powered Airdrop system works by literally harvesting moisture out of the air. The turbine maximises air intake, feeding it through a network of underground piping which quickly cools the air, generating significant amounts of water through the production of condensation.

The water collects in an underground tank and is then pumped through a low pressure subsurface drip irrigation system to the plant roots. Farmers will also be able to monitor tank water levels, pressure strength and solar battery life by way of an LCD screen.

The entire system is self powered and a solar panel on top charges a battery that powers the turbine, pump and LCD screen.

Edward explained in an interview with Gizmag that he created a small scale prototype in his mother’s back yard that produced about 1 litre of water in just one day, and this proves that the concept does work and that it would be suitable for large scale agricultural use.

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