Self-Filling Water Bottle Concept Harvests H20 From Air

Did you know that there are more than three quadrillion gallons of water just floating around in the air? Climate change has made it abundantly clear that water will become an even more precious resource in the coming decades. Although the freshwater rivers and lakes from which we source drinking water may dry up, scientists hope that advanced technology will allow them to harvest this atmospheric water as a new supply.

We’ve already reported on a wind turbine concept that plucks water from desert air, but that’s hardly a practical investment for your average individual. Now, new developments from a company called NBD Nano suggests this technology may be in our hands sooner than previously thought. The company has pioneered a water bottle that can refill itself with drinkable water harvested from the air.

water condensation, namib desert beetle, water bottle, NBD Nano

Image via Muffet/Flickr

Like many of the most innovative clean tech companies, NBD Nano’s amazing water bottle concept was inspired by Mother Nature. The company’s founders noticed that the Namib Desert Beetle is able to thrive in the extremely dry environments because it’s capable of absorbing water from the air.

“Every morning this beetle climbs to the top of a sand dune, sticks its back to the wind, and drinks 12 percent of its weight in water,” said NBD cofounder Deckard Sorensen in an interview with PRI. “We use nanotechnology to mimic this beetle’s back so that we too can pull water from the air.” In the novel design, the water bottle’s surface is coated with hydrophilic and hydrophobic coatings, and then a fan is used to pass air over the surface. The water condenses on the surface and, eventually, the water bottle refills itself. The design could operate using a rechargeable battery or solar cell to speed-up accumulation and filter the water.

Obviously, this technology could have a huge impact, especially in developing nations where other types of water filtration are hampered by a lack of infrastructure. NBD hopes to bring this off-grid water bottle to market by 2014.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog


  • Reply November 25, 2012

    John Smith

    holy shit.

  • Reply November 25, 2012

    Matthew Moglia

    go to the NBD website. The bio of the co-founder is poorly written: “While this is his second stint at starting a company…” stint? And they have a gmail address listed for their main contact. Doesn’t appear that they have much money or an experienced businessman behind this.

  • Reply December 8, 2012


    Thirsty for news!

  • Reply December 10, 2012

    Jim Newman

    Could certainly be true. Biomimicry (checking out the beetle and figuring out how it does it) plus nanotechnology = Good Stuff. 🙂
    If NBD can’t get it to work properly then some other company will.
    We have a lot to learn from Mother Nature – as long as we don’t kill her along with our planet…

  • Reply December 17, 2012


    Great, except for having to power it with a fan. If it’s already moving, fine, but the energy expense is probably not efficient enough. Now, if the fan is solar powered… yeah!

  • Reply October 21, 2016

    Johann De Beer

    What happens if the humidity of the air is low?

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