Breakthrough: Dutch artist creates water in the desert of Mali

Making water in the desert. Scientist said Dutch artist Ap Verheggen was crazy when he started with his project. But he managed to test his magical idea in a Dutch army base in Mali and he made his invention work! A huge step in science.

Every day in Camp Castor the temperature hits the 50 degrees. Its one of the driest places on earth. Even the air is so dry that there is no measuring instrument which could measure any form of moisture in the air. But Ap Verheggen still managed to make the impossible out of the air; water. ‘If it will work here, it will work anywhere on this planet’ says Ap.

His idea may sound absolutely absurd and it was born in a bar. Where most of the world changing ideas are born. Togethere with some friends Ap created more devices to create moisture with solar power.

A simple design

His most eye catching design was named DCO3. This design is really simpel and costs around 3 euro. He used a so called Peltier-element. This is a cooling element which is usually used to cool chips from computers. The small element will receive the energy from the solar panel. After that the downside of the element will become ice cold, and the top becomes really hot. De trick is to cool down the air up to the point that moisture will be created on the cone. The moisture was caught in a glass of water. And there it was, fresh water created out of the driestest air on the planet.

It would be amazing if all families living in these dry areas could produce their own water by using this principle. That’s what Ap Verheggen was dreaming when he entered his plane heading to Mali. It would be a solution to a huge world problem. Over 750 million people do not have the possibility to drink clean water. That is 10 percent of all the people living on this planet. The watercrisis will be one of the biggest threats to mankind ever known.


When Verheggen was testing his device in Holland it was working soon. But there is enough water. To do the experiment he needed he had to test his creation in Mali. Verheggen was suprised by the extreme wheater conditions.

The first three days didn’t work out for him. Not a single drop of water was created, but with some help of his friends and technicians he just kept going until he managed to create water. The only thing needed is enough power to make a small light bulb work. ‘Not only the climate is very hostile here but also our environment. When we did see the first drops of water, we got our hope back’.

But it still takes long to fill a glass of water. Six hours to be exactly. That is not enough for a family to survive, but Verheggen proved that it is possible to create water out of the air. Even in the driest place on earth. He wrote to a lot of universities about his experiments and he really hoped the will pick up the idea and continue to develop this super cheap technique. Verheggen thinks it might be the future.

He still hopes to create a glacier in the desert. He is an artist after all!

 Read more about this project here

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