The Phaserl


How Locals Brilliantly Turned Fog Into Beer In the World’s Driest Desert

by Christina Sarich, Underground Reporter:

Fog collection for a small brewery in the middle of Chile’s Atacama Desert may provide more than just a frosty, tall glass of locally sourced beer to residents in the Coquimbo region, where water is as valuable as gold.  Researchers have placed huge canvas nets across the landscape in order to collect a wall of dense fog that comes in from the Pacific Coast for a multitude of purposes — including possibly providing water to residents in a place that is described as ‘aggressively inhospitable.’

The Atacama is known as the driest place on earth. If water can be harvested there, it could literally be harvested anywhere.

Fog or dew collection is an ancient practice. Archaeologists have found evidence in Israel of low circular walls that were built around plants and vines to collect moisture from condensation. In Egypt, piles of stones were once arranged so that condensation could trickle down the inside walls, where it was collected and then stored. The renewed application of this technique, however, comes at a time when 783 million people are without potable water, and 85 percent of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet.

Beer brewing, small scale agriculture, potable water for indigenous people in extremely arid climates — the list of possibilities for fog collection is endless, and the collection of water from an unlikely source is already underway. Over 1,000 liters of water a day are collected from huge nets that resemble a fisherman’s, but which are littered across the desert like an art collector’s display. Water droplets collect on the nets and then trickle into pipes and collection containers. The water is either used directly or then treated if it is to be used for drinking water. Each window-sized device can collect 14 liters (3.7 gallons) of water daily.

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1 comment to How Locals Brilliantly Turned Fog Into Beer In the World’s Driest Desert

  • Craig Escaped Detroit

    There are a lot of “foggy” areas where this would work OK. In MY location, we get a lot of humidity and foggy often around 3am.

    But we get plenty of real rain in my area. There are some dry spells, perhaps a couple weeks long. I think the areas that made it illegal to collect RAIN water could use this pretty well.

    I think the “Sun shade” cloth-screen would be good, (but roll it up in the daytime to prevent UV breakdown). Put a plastic or aluminum gutter at the bottom to collect the “dew drops” and pipe it into a barrel or water tank.

    It is a very good “safety precaution” to have a radiation detector, to check for days when heavy RADON or Fukushima (or local power plant) emissions cross your area.

    And if you’ve got other contaminating factories, pig farms, manure operations, etc, then you either need some testing or some good filtering.

    But I do like the idea of another “water source” that is not regulated by the local water Nazis.

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