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Dutch Artist's Sculpture Offers a Splash From Thin Air


The spurts can happen every 20 minutes when the sun is out, or every few hours in cloudy weather.

The water streams are not just entertainment. The sculpture, "SunGlacier DC01," by the Dutch artist Ap Verheggen, is designed to solve one of the world's pressing problems by producing drinking water through solar energy and condensation. A condenser is hidden in a metallic box that also serves as the plinth for the artwork.

Mr. Verheggen worked with a team of cooling experts for about four years to develop the device. The sculpture operates well in a moist environment like the Netherlands, he said, but it will work even better in a desert environment, where more solar energy can be harnessed, and where the heat accelerates condensation. Mr. Verheggen said that the most important factor for the functioning of his device was the "absolute quantity of water in the air," because when the temperature is high, the air will hold more water before it starts to rain. So, as the temperature rises, he can extract more water directly.

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