IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Billboard turns desert air into pure water

Image of billboard.
This billboard in Lima, Peru, converts humid desert air into pure drinking water. It is intended to promote a university.UTEC

Billboards provide parched drivers cruising down the highway in Lima, Peru with ample ideas for ways to quench their thirst, from soda to beer, but only one turns the desert air to drinkable water right there.

The billboard is a marketing campaign created by ad agency Mayo DraftFCB intended to inspire would-be engineers to apply for admission to the University of Engineering and Technology.

Lima is located in a desert and receives less than an inch of rain a year, causing many residents to rely on polluted wells for their drinking water. But the coastal city also experiences high levels of humidity — about 98 percent, which got the ad agency and the university thinking about the billboard.

The working billboard houses generators that capture humidity and send it through a reverse osmosis system to generate water, a video about the project (above) from the ad agency explains. The water is filtered and stored in tanks. A tap at the base supplies water to local residents.

Image of billboard
Local residents line up to get clean water from the base of the billboard.UTEC

The billboard can generate up to 25 gallons of water a day. Time will tell how many students it inspires to apply to school, gain engineering skills and change the world.

– via Discovery News, PSFK

John Roach is a contributing writer for NBC News. To learn more about him, check out his website. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.