How do you create water from a billboard? The University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Lima, Peru, the second largest desert city in the world, set itself the task of doing just that.
Lima receives virtually no precipitation, so ensuring a secure supply of water, especially to the city’s poorest neighborhoods, poses a constant challenge. And yet there’s water everywhere in the Peruvian capital! The atmospheric humidity in the city can climb to 100% during the months from June to December. Tourists can find it an ordeal, but to UTEC engineers it presented a golden opportunity. Seeking a novel way to attract students to its engineering degree program, the university joined forces with the Mayo DraftFCB ad agency to create a billboard that captures water found in the atmosphere. What better publicity for an engineering school than to show the concrete results of its teaching?
The billboard, powered by the city’s electrical grid, is based on a very simple concept. The air is first filtered and then cooled as it comes into contact with condensers, turning the humidity into droplets. The water is then purified through a very fine filtering process known as reverse osmosis. Once purified, it flows into a 20-liter tank located at the base of the billboard.
According to UTEC, the billboard produced 9,450 liters of water in just three months – “enough to meet the water needs of hundreds of families”. The campaign has proven doubly successful for the university, where the number of applicants has skyrocketed in the wake of this unusual advertising.
- UTEC University website
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