A Feasibility Study on the Use of an Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG) for the Harvesting of Fresh Water in a Semi-Arid Region Affected by Mining Pollution
Worldwide, the shortage of fresh water has increased exponentially due to population growth and contamination of available water, especially in water tables that provide water for general consumption. One of the main pollutants of water is arsenic (As), present in the environment and in most mining/metallurgical processes, which is a major health risk, especially as a carcinogen. In the region of Matehuala, San Luis Potosi (SLP), Mexico, a highly productive mining area, arsenic concentrations
... ic concentrations of 138.1 mg/kg have been found in soils—6.2 times higher than what is allowed in domestic soils, while in water it is reported up to 158 mg/L, exceeding permissible limits for human consumption. In addition to As pollution, the region suffers from water shortage both in the city and in rural communities. Therefore, it is necessary to explore new technologies to provide the population with fresh water. This paper presents a feasibility study on the use of an atmospheric water generator (AWG) to capture fresh water in the region of Matehuala, SLP. The region was found to have the necessary environmental conditions to use AWGs, with an annual average relative humidity (RH) of approximately 60%. Using a mathematical model of a dehumidifier, water harvesting can be evaluated under the region's prevailing climatic conditions. The month with lowest harvest was found to be January, with 0.89 to 3.6 L/day, while the month with largest harvest was August at 3.9 to 18 L/day and water production costs of 0.0093 and $ 0.038 USD/L, respectively. The study concludes that the use of AWGs would help alleviate water shortages, thus benefiting marginalized people or communities, preserving ecosystems and the environment.