It almost sounds like a magic trick – being able to create water out of thin air, using nothing more than power from the sun. The innovative concept of a self-filling, solar-powered water bottle is what’s made Fontus such a smash success on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform, where it has already raised more than $325,000 of its $30,000 goal from more than 1,300 backers.
When you’re able to create water out of light and air, you have the freedom to go wherever you want. That’s a big selling point for the adventure and outdoors crowd – you can stay fully hydrated on your travels, without worrying about where to find the next water supply. And even better – the Fontus bottles work best in conditions where temperatures and humidity are the highest. This makes them perfect for some of the most water-challenged places on the planet.
For now, the Fontus bottles come in one of two different models. There’s AIRO, the basic standalone unit that you can carry anywhere, which holds 0.8 liters of water at maximum capacity. And there’s the RYDE, a similar-sized model made specifically for bicycles. Imagine having a virtually unlimited supply of water with you, on demand, anytime you travel, in a compact bottle.
Forget the magic trick — there’s actually quite a bit of science behind the Fontus self-filling water bottle, which works by capturing the moisture content in the air, condensing it and storing it as safe drinking water. Running on solar power, a small fan pulls in hot, humid air from the surrounding environment, runs it through a special filter and then sends it to special condensation chambers. The water that results from this condensation process gets stored for your drinking pleasure later.
This breakthrough water bottle concept is based on the same science that causes small beads of moisture to appear on cold cans of Coca-Cola on a particularly hot day. The surface of the can is cooler than the air temperature, and that causes the moisture to bead on the can. The next step – and the one that’s really revolutionary – is capturing all that moisture in amounts large enough and pure enough to be suitable for drinking.
If the AIRO and RYDE bottle prototypes turn out to be successful, there’s an even bigger goal imagined: turning Fontus into a freshwater delivery platform for parched regions of the world – think sub-Saharan Africa – that are particularly water-challenged.
And, for the developed world, there’s also a bonus. Instead of carrying extra water bottles with you on a long trip, you can carry just one. That’s because you’d literally be able to fill up during your trip, without having to plan your itinerary around getting to the next lake, river or stream. And without all those extra bottles, you’re doing your part to reduce plastic bottle waste. No more tossing out old bottles as you’re done with them.
The plan, says Fontus, is to begin shipping the AIRO and RYDE by April 2017. And that means, in just under one year from now, we may be significantly closer to solving one of the world’s great challenges: how to get enough water to every single person on the planet in a way that’s compact, cheap and infinitely portable.