Innovation Hub
At India Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai an Indian startup AirOWater has been showcasing its water vending machines that produce drinking water from humidity in the air. Image Credit: Virendra Shaklani/Gulf News

Dubai: India, until now known for the likes of Zomato and Flipkart in the digital domain, also has something to offer in the sustainability domain. On one of the world’s biggest stages – Dubai Expo 2020 –Indian startup AirOWater has been showcasing its water vending machines that produce drinking water from humidity in the air.

According to its CEO Rahul Mathur, “We have started getting enquiries after participating in the Arab Water Forum and now the Expo. We got inquiries from hydroponic and other farming operations as they don’t want to use sea water because it might spoil the plants – so, they’re looking at alternative solutions and that could be this water”

For now, it is more of a business-to-business concept, says Mathur, who believes it might be a while before the industry achieves the economies of scale required to sell to consumers.

“Business-to-consumer would require a large infrastructure in terms of technical (capabilities), marketing and everything else – right now, we are focusing on business-to-business and that will help us grow and make the first cut in Dubai as well as the Gulf region,” said Mathur.

Rahul Mathur (left), CEO of AirOWater demonstrates the technology of converting water vapor in the air into drinkable water.

The science

AirOWater uses condensation technology to convert abundant water vapor in the air into drinkable water. “Through the hot and cold condensation, the water vapor converts into water - the machine has got a heat exchanger and a lot of compressor to power it.”

The water that is converted goes through an air filter and a water-dust filter before it is collected in a tank. “The water is then boosted up through a booster for the water filtration, which makes it drinkable,” said Mathur.

Minerals are then added using a mineral cartridge to give the water a PH level of 7.5 to 8, which is the same as bottled water.

Africa focus

Africa is the next big frontier for AirOwater, where the company hopes to provide its machines to small villages without any capital expenditure and eventually turn a profit doing so.

“Besides that, normal B2B distribution is ready - a lot of people have come up and said they want to distribute to Africa,” said Mathur.

Innovation hub

AirOWater was exhibiting at the India Pavilion’s Innovation Hub, a platform for entrepreneurs and startups to showcase their capabilities. The Pavilion intends to host 500 startups over the next six months.

After seeing a decent amount of success at the Arab Water Forum, Mathur’s attention to turned to the Expo. “We reached out to the Indian consulate in Dubai and that’s when we found out about the Innovation Hub programme”

“We were there for four days and about 5,000-6,000 people came around,” he added.