Water transport is as mission-critical and as logistically challenging as fuel transport for the U.S. military. Meeting deployed military water needs requires equipment resources, consumes fuel, and endangers personnel. The goal of DARPA’s Atmospheric Water Extraction (AWE) program is to provide potable freshwater for a range of military, stabilization, and humanitarian needs through the development of small, lightweight, low-powered, distributable systems that extract potable water from the atmosphere to meet the drinking needs of individuals and groups, even in extremely arid climates.
AWE seeks to develop next-generation, scalable sorbent materials that can rapidly extract water from ambient air and leverage advanced modeling, innovative engineering, and additive manufacturing methods to achieve a substantial reduction in the size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements compared to current atmospheric water generation technologies.
AWE will address water needs in two tracks: expeditionary and stabilization. The expeditionary unit will provide sufficient drinking water for an individual warfighter, with SWaP parameters restricted by the need for portability and operation in austere environments. The stabilization device will provide the daily drinking needs for up to ~150 people (i.e., a company or humanitarian mission), with SWaP requirements tailored to resources available to missions of that scale.
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