Drinking water, more and more precious, more and more wasted but if you try hard you can get it in the most unexpected ways that remain so until someone arrives who ... thinks about it! How did they doHigh Polytechnic School gods Polytechnics of Milan and Turin giving life to a project to make it possible to capture drinking water with nets, from the air. Let's not imagine butterfly nets, the project called WaLi (WAter for Life) it is something much more complex and that deserves everyone's attention. Because drinking water is needed by everyone, especially now that the water crisis is now evident in the first news headlines and newspaper screams.
Drinking water from the fog: how it works
Thanks to textile nets, it is now possible to capture drinking water. The project WaLi has focused on making devices capable of trap foggy clusters so common between Milan and Turin, but not only, because they are created when there are sudden changes in temperature and humidity close to the ground, not only in the Po Valley. One time captured the fog, the dew drops are transformed into water through the mesh of fabrics and it is drinking water, also suitable for irrigation.
The networks of WaLi, the result of the work of a sort of multidisciplinary task force for drinking water made up of 5 students, they were also applied and tested as vertical bulkheads along the cultivated fields, they are a simple and economical solution which, if well placed, can give excellent results by studying the winds of the area in question.
Drinking water from the fog against the water crisis
To better understand the extent of theimpact WaLi can have on planet Earth and on who lives there, it must be contextualized through some numbers that describe the current water crisis. We remain in Italy so as not to think that they are always problems that affect others, far away.
Coldiretti in the 2017 report said that two thirds of Italy and crops are dry due to lack of rainfall and shortage of water supply. The average water consumption of those living in Italy is about 245 liters per day, not to mention that 3% of the volume of drinking water introduced into the network is subtracted without authorization. The drop in rainfall is also talked about "alarm": - 47.4% compared to the average.
Cities and countryside suffer from it, especially in Northern Italy. Also according to Coldiretti, what we are witnessing is the worst water crisis of the decade: 2/3 of the cultivated fields along the peninsula are dry, damage to crops and livestock is estimated at over 2 billion euros.
Drinking water from the fog from South America to Italy
The idea of using fog to obtain drinking water is not new and made in Italy, there are gods “fog-trapping” devices already in use in Peru and Chile and others are under development at various university centers, including the Alta Scuola Politecnica.
His students have taken the textile devices made to date but in a still rudimentary way, with the idea of making them become not only into something more innovative but also of more applicable to city or metropolitan contexts.
WaLi transforms textile networks for drinking water into architectural elements that can be used in Europe, suitable for the climatic-environmental conditions of our continent and at the same time declinable to other types of needs and problems, even peculiar to other areas.
Drinking water from the fog: where are we?
The textile networks of WaLi are in the design phase and experimental prototyping, the study is focusing above all on the development of elements that are functional on the territorial scale. Let's take the foggy Po Valley: the students of the Alta Scuola Politecnica want evaluate the impact of WaLi on agricultural landscapes of this area of other flat areas of the hinterland, then trying to test the application even where i lands are cultivated in terraces, near the sea.
WaLi also wants to enter cities and change them by inserting for example urban seating systems integrated with shading nets for drinking water, green or even whole walls three-dimensional textile facades that capture fog, also complete with a system for microfiltration of polluted air. Let's not forget that in addition to the drought alarm, there is also the smog alarm.
Drinking water from the fog: funding
How does the story continue? We ask ourselves this but we do not remain idle waiting for funding and supporters to rain from the sky from one day to the next. Through multidisciplinary design workshops, involving experts and stakeholders, the participants in the WaLi project competed for a European research funding.
Precisely for this reason I am working to create the first prototypes, thanks to the scientific and technical support of the interdepartmental research laboratory on textile and polymeric materials Textiles Hub of the Politecnico di Milano and the collaboration of some manufacturing companies in the tensile structures sector.
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