As fresh water disappears from the ground, a group of Russian inventors is looking up, to the clouds, that is. A new crowdfunded project called Cloud Power aims to extract water from clouds and pipe it to earth, where it could be used to generate hydroelectric power and provide fresh drinking water for people in isolated areas. The system, currently in prototype phase, can collect about five liters of water per hour - but developers hope to ramp up that number with a larger scale project.
How Cirrus Clouds Form - And Why It Matters
The system collects the water by way of an Air HES, or air hydroelectric station. A specially outfitted weather balloon is floated into the sky, with a mesh water collection sheet suspended vertically below. As the mesh sheet passes through clouds, moisture is trapped in the fibers, and the water is collected in a conduit line.
The bottom of the conduit line is attached to a turbine that generates energy from water pressure coming through the tube. The fresh water is then collected in a separate reservoir, where it can be used for drinking or irrigation.