INNOVATIONWater

Water from the sky

Solving water shortages by condensing atmospheric water vapour to create on-demand clouds

A major challenge facing our planet and what the United Nations considers the greatest crisis of the 21st century is the growing fresh water shortage, especially in arid countries. All the water the world needs is in the atmosphere – but conventionally it has been assumed that we cannot create clouds, so we cannot access it. A new technology at the proof–of-concept stage promises the answer.

Source: Sky Tap Project

The atmosphere holds a fresh water volume of roughly 13,000 cubic km every day, in the form of 2% cloud cover and 98% invisible water vapour. The total volume cycled through the atmosphere annually is 577,000 cubic km. In contrast, the annual fresh water use from all sources globally is roughly 4,000 cubic km and over 80 countries are experiencing water stressed conditions.

We do not have a fresh water shortage problem; we have a knowledge problem – how to access this supply. The atmosphere holds the answer to an abundant fresh water supply for all life on Planet Earth.

The solution

(Click to enlarge)  Volume of water vapour cycled through the atmosphere annually

(Click to enlarge) Volume of water vapour cycled through the atmosphere annually

A technology which has the ability to enhance the condensation and precipitation phase of the natural water cycle will provide abundant supplies of fresh water on a controlled basis. Using a unique process, the prototype of the Cloud Master technology has shown the ability to condense atmospheric water vapour to form clouds within minutes. These clouds then rapidly grow in size as they continue to absorb water vapour.

A second impact of the effect emitted from a similar device downwind will induce precipitation over a targeted area for the duration that is required to meet a specific need for fresh water.

The technology of the Sky Tap project is designed to condenses invisible atmospheric water vapour to form clouds in minutes at dew point temperature altitude – which is where a gas will turn to a liquid if condensation nuclei are present, or if there’s a surface to cling to.

Our device projects a unique electronic wave at great speed and distance to impart an electric charge to aerosols which rapidly increases condensation of water vapour to form water droplets and produce visible clouds in minutes.

It also creates a hygroscopic effect on the water droplets which causes them to rapidly absorb additional water vapour and the clouds grow in size by several hundred times, in just 30 minutes.

The technology

There has never been a technology that could condense atmospheric water vapour to create a cloud, on-demand. Nor increase precipitation more than approximately 10%; which, according to the American Meteorological Society, is the average success rate for conventional cloud seeding after examining 60 years of practice. This is because all previous technologies have been missing a key element that makes the process vastly more efficient.

Before one can induce precipitation from the atmosphere, there first needs to be a sufficient volume of condensed water vapour in the form of clouds which are capable of releasing rain or snow that will impact the ground.

Dr Bernard Vonnegut, Atmospheric Physicist at General Electric in the late 1950s, conducted experiments imparting a space charge onto atmospheric aerosols to increase the coalescence of water vapour. His apparatus consisted of suspending seven miles of thin wire on 80 poles and charging the wire with a high voltage which imparted a space charge onto air molecules adjacent to the wire. As these charged aerosols rose via convection they acted as condensation nuclei on water vapour and anomalous clouds appeared above the apparatus in a clear sky. Details of this work can be found in the publication, “Preliminary attempts to influence convective electrification in cumulus clouds by the introduction of space charge into the lower atmosphere” (Vonnegut & Moore 1958). Vonnegut also discovered through lab experiments that inducing this space charge to water droplets increased coalescence by 700% as described by Moore, & Jonsson, (1997).

More recent publications have supported the theory of an electrical space charge increasing condensation of water vapour, such as a publication in 2000 by Dr Tinsley, Dr Rohrbaugh, Dr Hei, & Dr Beard, stating that: “Enhancing the coalescence of water vapour in the atmosphere due to an electrical influence, increases the size of water droplets” (Tinsley et al., 2000).

In 2004, a publication by Dr Klain, Dr Arkhipov, Dr Pinsky, Dr Feldman, & Dr Ryabov stated that to be effective at enhancing the coalescent collision efficiency of water droplets “requires a certain minimum charge per electrically active cloud particle of at least a few hundred elementary (electronic) charges on aerosols or droplets with a radius of 10 – 20 µm,” (Klain et al., 2004). This must occur at or above dew point temperature altitude to act as condensation nuclei.

A publication by Dr Harrison & Dr Ambaum stated that: “The effect of electric charges on small droplets is similar to the hygroscopic effect of salts. Like droplets of salt solutions, droplets charged to a certain degree require a lower super-saturation to grow by condensation” (Harrison and Ambaum, 2008). These findings confirmed the theory by Vonnegut that an electrical influence on water droplets enhances coalescence and increases the rate of condensation.

As you can see, our theory isn’t a new one, it is only our application and methodology of utilizing uniquely designed wave guides and particle acceleration principles that causes the effect to be very efficient and the results are what is ground breaking.

What we have created is also related to a number of scientific theories going all the way back to the 1890s when Nikola Tesla claimed that certain frequencies had the ability to affect the nature of moisture in the atmosphere to produce precipitation – the details of which are a Trade Secret.

Operations in the field

The technology requires two sets of units to work in coordination, one set to generate cloud growth and the other to induce precipitation downwind. The lower the humidity in the atmosphere, the more units that are required for success, but given enough units in operation; it will always be successful since the clouds are generated in a clear sky under total control of the technology. This also means there is no wide scale atmospheric disruption that may cause unintended or adverse weather conditions.

Ceasing operation of the units halts any further cloud formation and therefore ends the precipitation event as well.

The initial units are positioned to project the electronic wave into the sky above or into an oncoming source of rising humidity to generate cloud formation. These clouds are then carried downwind and rapidly grow in size due to the hygroscopic effect the electronic wave has on the water vapour.

Once the clouds have matured in size and density, a second impact from another set of units will increase the condensation of the water droplets to form raindrops, and induce precipitation over a targeted area.

skytap 2a skytap 2b
skytap 2c skytap 2d
skytap 2e skytap 2f

(Click to enlarge individual images)

Benefits

This technology offers many other practical uses other than providing water for agriculture. Like providing cooling shade over cities in hot climates to end a heat wave, and reduce energy consumption for air conditioning; or supressing wildfires over wide areas with precipitation that can be created within hours, reducing the loss of life, property and insurance claims.

It can increase snow pack and precipitation in mountains to replenish rivers and lakes and especially aquifers and also reservoirs for hydroelectric power. Major reservoirs in the US like Lake Mead and Lake Powell are quickly diminishing, and the Colorado River doesn’t even make it to the ocean anymore.

The same can be said for water bodies in other countries, like: the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, the Aral Sea, Lake Chad, Owens Lake in California, or Lake Urmia in Iran.

Conventional wisdom cannot see beyond ancient technology of building canals or pipelines or stopping all wells from operating to conserve these water bodies, yet there is more than abundant atmospheric water to replenish all of them.

This technology can also provide fresh water in remote areas that have valuable mineral reserves but without the water to conduct the extraction and refining process. It can be used to fill small remote reservoirs from which water can then be pumped to the mine site, opening up a valuable economic sector for many countries like Chile, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, and Central Asia.

The process of removing water vapour from the atmosphere, which accounts roughly 70 percent of all greenhouse gas, and sequestering it in aquifers, also reduce the total volume of greenhouse gas which is adding to the changing climate.

Providing precipitation to arid regions will vastly increase vegetation growth on a large scale as it stabilizes soils and decreases desertification, thus further decreasing CO2 content in the atmosphere.

Providing shade to cities in hot climates reduces energy consumption for air conditioning; and therefore, reduces the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity and reduces overall carbon emissions.

Climate change

The unique ability of the Sky Tap technology to produce clouds on demand which continue to grow in size until the effect is saturated with water vapour provides a means for effective climate change mitigation, by cooling the oceans through solar radiation management which is the only recognized approach to providing a quick solution to reducing ocean temperatures.

In addition to this, during the regular use of the technology in hot climates, such as the Middle East, Australia, India, China, etc., it holds the potential of reducing large volumes of carbon emissions by reducing a portion of the energy requirements for air conditioning.

In 2009, the Royal Society published their findings of a major study into geo-engineering the climate. This study recognizes only two approaches to address the growing problem:

  • Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) techniques, which remove CO2 from the atmosphere. As they address the root cause of climate change, rising CO2 concentrations, they have relatively low uncertainties and risks. However, these techniques work slowly to reduce global temperatures.
  • Solar Radiation Management (SRM) techniques, which reflect a small percentage of the sun’s light and heat back into space. These methods act quickly, and so may represent the only way to lower global temperatures quickly in the event of a climate crisis. However, they only reduce some, but not all, effects of climate change, while possibly creating other problems. They also do not affect CO2 levels; and therefore, fail to address the wider effects of rising CO2, including ocean acidification.

There have been many creative solutions proposed for geo-engineering to cool the planet but they always carry with them some major concerns:

  • Legal: “If the geo-engineering solution of a country impacts on a neighbouring state we are moving into dangerous territory around international law and national sovereignty. Nearly every one of the current solutions has broad, uncontrollable impacts that would go well beyond the borders of any individual state.”
  • Technical: “There is not one geo-engineering solution that has been proposed that is controllable in its impact or effective on the kind of scales we need. Many of those that have been proposed are extraordinarily difficult and expensive to implement. Finally, not one of them deals with acidification of the oceans. The only effective geo-engineering measure would seem be to the removal of atmospheric CO2 and it would have to be completely controllable, and currently none exist.”
  • Economic: “Aside from the extreme cost of geo-engineering solutions, there is also the cost associated with their impacts on agriculture, pollution, and changes to industry. These knock-on costs are likely to be immense. But the initial cost will also be immense. An industry will have to be built from scratch (unlike with renewables and other adaption and mitigation measures) and then it will have to be deployed internationally. As economists have pointed out ad infinitum (Stern, Garnaut reports as well), mitigation was always going to be cheaper than adaption. By not acting now, we are choosing a very poor economic outcome in the long term.”
  • Ecological: “Every proposed geo-engineering solution has an ecological impact that will, inevitably, turn into an economic cost. Rapid geo-engineering will have a deep impact on climate; and, if we get it wrong, this impact could be immensely destructive to agriculture and natural bio-spheres. As noted above, no geo-engineering solution deals with acidification of the oceans. We cannot afford to lose marine species through ocean acidification. The ecological impact would be on a scale that we have never witnessed before and the overall impact is unpredictable.”

“In short, geo-engineering could have as big an impact on the world as climate change. It would simply be another experiment on top of the one we are already inadvertently performing with greenhouse gases.”(Alvin Stone (2014), Media and Communications at UNSW ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science)

In contrast to the expressed drawbacks of current geo-engineering theories, the technology of the Sky Tap Project holds the possibility of providing effective solar radiation management without violating legal concerns of neighbouring states. The technology is totally controllable as to timing, duration, and extent of impact and easily deployed on a large scale. The effects are also measurable by satellite technology, in real time, to determine the percent of solar radiation being reflected away from the earth. The economics of the Sky Tap technology are quite inexpensive in comparison to existing proposed theories such as stratospheric sulphur dust injection, or Albedo Yachts which are the two main SRM systems being considered.

Manufacturing the units and deploying them on existing ocean going cargo vessels, which will generate long strings of reflective cloud as they cross the oceans, can be an ongoing enterprise with immediate measurable verification of their benefit, from the outset. Due to the controllability of the technology, there are very few if any ecological costs associated with the proper management of the Sky Tap technology. The effects can be restricted to confined regions to serve the greatest purpose, such as: reducing surface temperatures to lessen the frequency of hurricanes or reduce their intensity. All operations to generate clouds over the oceans can be immediately stopped whenever the situation warrants, offering amazing control of the geo-engineering technology.

The net long term benefit to the planet from deploying the Sky Tap technology far exceeds any conceived detrimental impact.


This description has been edited from the original documents to fit the format of the Future Agriculture Directory.

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