Monthly Archives: October 2009

Keeping the Cloud worries in perspective

I just read on ebizQ that “the head of Air New Zealand is reported to have branded IBM “amateur” for its handling of a data center outage”. I think that one should consider such incidents in perspective.

Take the airline industry – flying is statistically much safer than other transportation such as automobiles, yet a flight accident gets worldwide attention while most car accidents go unnoticed (except for the victims). The same goes for hosting and Cloud operations, in many aspects – security, outages, performance – to take a few.

Frankly, the typical company’s data centre is significantly less secure and frequently poorly monitored, to a point that users often are not even aware they were hacked. So I would not lose sleep worrying about outages at IBM – much more likely about outages of my own data centre.

Producing water from thin air – dream or reality?

I recently became acquainted with a new technology that is truely amazing – producing water from the air. I’d like to share more about that.

The extraction of air humidity as alternative water source is a solution that was primitively used since biblical times . In the last 15 years several attempts were invested using modern technologies for this process, but none was able to operate reliably over an extended period of time at acceptable costs.

The ideal solution is to affordably produce plenty of H2O (pure water). And voila – it should be now possible to get large amounts of drinking-grade water in places where water is limited or unavailable with minimal environmental impacts and at a reasonable price!  This goal is achieved using an innovative technology from the Israeli company EWA Technologies Ltd., to obtain atmospheric water in most climatic conditions, air quality, time and place.

The EWA technology aims to provide humanity with a new water source, which could easily answer necessities almost everywhere on the globe. The EWA technology can be considered as a rain substitute – without its erratic unavailability.

Some facts about water in the air
There is more than enough water in the air. The air volume of a big room (75-100 cubic meters) contains almost two liters of water. In atmospheric terms, a volume of 1 cubic km contains 10,000 to 40,000 cubic meter of water – enough to supply water for thousands of families.

The EWA 3rd generation technology
EWA-III incorporates a novel breakthrough and cost effective processes to supply remarkable quantities of water from the atmosphere. Leaving behind the traditional condensation concepts that were used so far to extract water from air, EWA-III utilizes a multi-stage, dry, chemically based concept that is unaffected by air pollution and suits most climatic conditions. EWA-III also breaks the cost barriers of equivalent technologies thanks to sophisticated heat exchange and energy management, to the point of generating carbon credits.
Practically, only the power consumed by the blowers and some incremental heat is needed, since EWA-III reuses 90% of the energy through heat transfers and innovative optimization. In biomass terms, the basic EWA-III/10 model consumes 5kg of biomass (or 5 litres of diesel fuel) to produce 1,000 litres of fresh water. The energetic efficiency increases upon scaling up to higher capacity models, reducing the cost to $0.50 per 1,000 litres of water at the efficient end.

The environmental impact
Water desalination technologies produce waste that negatively impact the environment, and generate carbon emission debits. The new technology requires moderate heat energy, can use natural and/or residual heat sources, and a little electricity. It does not use chemicals and does not produce any wastes or residues. Moreover, upon consuming heat energy from renewable energy sources, it actually produces carbon credits. Furthermore, this creates new fresh liquid water (transformation process) that is added to the water cycle.

In his paper about the combat against desertification , Professor Marc Bied-Charreton describes the causes and effects of desertification, and highlights the point that modifications of vegetation and land conditions have an impact on the climate; that soil denudation increases evaporation and reduces water storage; and that the increase of barren land areas has also an impact on the production/suspension of aerosols, contributing to climate mechanisms alterations. With enough water to develop vegetation in desert areas, desertification could be reversed and the effects of climate change mitigated.

The Rural Concept developed by EWA addresses the water – vegetation – waste – energy cycle, and makes use of agricultural wastes as an energy source for EWA’s water apparatus. EWA’s water apparatuses are able to utilize all types of energy, but mainly use moderate heat (a small amount of electricity is required to blow the air through the absorption chamber). Agricultural wastes are composed of organic matter that enables to produce heat without causing air pollution.

By using agriculture/municipal organic wastes to produce energy, it is possible to supply water for both domestic and agricultural purposes at a significantly lower cost than alternative water sources.