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Water dehydrated

by Archives April 1, 2008

A pair of Canadian inventors has discovered a process allowing them to dehydrate water.
Luc Belmar and Richard Hammel claim their technique could provide a suitable option for storing virtually limitless amounts of water on large surface areas.
The first application Belmar proposed was for use in space travel. NASA could potentially use a modified version of their invention in a way that is similar to using dehydrated food.
“Instead of drinking powdered juice, they could take real juice, dehydrate it and drink it in space. It beats the fake, chemically-produced powder in my book,” he said.
Right now, a full-scale model would be too big and impractical for a spacecraft. The yield sheet’s dimensions, that is the surface area on which the dehydrated water is produced, has an area of around 75 square metres, according to the sketches. That would translate into the surface area of a soccer field.
“This is sort of a counter-intuitive thing,” explained Hammel. “Because we found it needs a more powerful generator when you reduce the sheet’s size.”
The team is confident that with time they will be able to build smaller engines. The prototype they currently have fits on a table, but has wires that go connect to a generator in an adjacent room.
As means of a demonstration, Belmar turned the knob at the corner of the table, seemingly pouring something into an empty glass.
“There is no added color, no residual taste and no remaining odour. It’s just like the real thing, except lighter,” said Belmar before taking a sip.
The researchers discovered the process by chance while looking for better filtration techniques, explained Hammel. At some point, they realized something was happening to the water.
“In 20 years working as an engineer, I had never seen this, the more energy we inputted, the warmer the water would get and at some point, we got dehydrated water,” said Hammel, refusing to give more details on how the discovery was made.
“We’re exploring alternate methods to achieve the same result, we may have to fill new (patent) requests,” he explained.
The tandem now has a 216-page document outlining “a method and apparatus for making dehydrated water,” available for viewing through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
Eventually, they want to come up with a design that would be as small as their original prototype, while being much more energy-efficient, but to their own admission, they are far from being able to offer a consumer-level product in the short term.
Nonetheless, the researchers’ company, Aqua Solutions, plans on commercializing an industrial version of their product within the next four years.
It will be full-scaled and will hopefully operate on two generators, said Belmar.
Before they get to that point, “we’ll think of a suitable name. We’re looking for something fresh, we don’t want it to be dry.”

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