Solar power will give you non-stop water during bike rides

Jon Fingas @jonfingas

If you’re a cyclist, you know the anxiety that comes with running out of water in the middle of a bike ride — the last thing you want is dehydration when you’re miles away from home. Design student Kristof Retezàr may just set your mind at ease, though. He recently developed Fontus, a bike-mounted device that uses solar power to convert air moisture into water for your drinking bottle. The key is its use of thermoelectric cooling. Solar panels generate electricity that cools the top of the device, where air comes in as you ride; as the moisture condenses, it drips water into a bottle below. The bottom stays warm, but that only accelerates the condensation process above.

This is a design exercise at the moment, but Retezàr is looking at both crowdfunding and investors to turn this into a shipping product. It won’t need much refinement to be both cheap and effective, at least. The Fontus prototype cost less than $40 to make, and it actually works best when conditions are at their worst — it produces half a liter (17 fluid ounces) of water in an hour when subjected to hot and humid air. That may not be completely satisfying if you’re extremely thirsty, but it should be enough to tide you over until your next rest stop.

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