Edward Linacre, the mind behind the concept is a young Australian from Melbourne, and a graduate from the Swinburne University of Technology’s design programme.
The core of the Airdrop irrigation concept involves using the process of condensation to extract water from thin air, as it were. Ambient air is drawn into an underground network of pipes via a turbine intake system.
This cools the air to the temperature of the soil. Water vapour present in the air starts to condense at the lower temperature and forms drops of water.
This water that is “extracted” from air is collected and stored in an underground tank, ready to be pumped out using sub-surface drip irrigation methods. The system is powered by solar energy. An LCD screen displays key indicators such as water pressure, water level in the underground tank, battery health etc.
Edward’s thoughts were triggered by the long-running drought in Australia’s Murray-darling river basin that has forced many farmers to commit suicide. The small prototype he built in his mother’s backyard was able to deliver one litre of water a day, but has successfully demonstrated the feasibility of the concept and its scope for scaling up.
For his Airdrop irrigation concept, Edward Linacre was selected for the James Dyson award, making him the second Australian in a row to win the prestigious international competition.