Water and its future
The search for life in outer space is one of the next goals for the aerospace industry; these missions carried out by NASA, or Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) should increase the chances of finding life on other planets or galaxies and for this, having water is vital. This precious resource is indispensable for life and livelihood and will soon take center stage around the world as it becomes increasingly scarce on our planet.
In this fight against the water problem, all actors are equally important, both individuals and companies that must make responsible use of the water we all consume. When companies like Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) launch their rockets into space, they make very intensive use of water in a very short period of time. Approximately 1.1 million litres of water are used in 40 seconds to minimize the sound produced by the rockets themselves.
Responsible water use plays an important role in this issue, but wastewater recycling or ocean water treatment will definitely be the main focus for society as the scarcity of drinking water becomes more evident. Water treatment plants in charge of processing ocean water into drinkable water and also useful for industrial use is a very interesting and promising alternative; over the years, the energy consumption of these plants has decreased drastically, although further technological advances that allow the reduction of operating costs would achieve greater access to this vital resource. These types of plants have a task ahead of them to mitigate their main flaw: the excessive amount of salt produced in the purification process. While this is not bad for the environment, it creates logistical problems that hinder the process of obtaining water.
Water reuse has two very important advantages when dealing with a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce, mainly the low cost compared to other more complex methods, and the logistics of processing it are also much simpler. Companies such as American Water Works (NYSE: AWK) are in charge of processing water in the traditional way, and in this sense, they are very relevant and will continue to do so as the years go by and drinking water becomes scarcer; but technology, like water, follows its course.
Achieving fully sustainable models must be the goal of industries when it comes to reducing environmental impact and making proper use of water resources, and partnerships are fundamental in this. Veolia Environnement (BATS EU: VIE) is one of Europe’s largest water processors and has carried out several projects; alongside Shell PLC (BATS EU: SHEL) or L’Oréal (BATS EU: OR), to name but a few. The need to optimize all industries is becoming increasingly evident.
Water is beginning to be perceived as a fundamental resource that countries wish to preserve at all costs and, in the coming decades, it could be considered the gold of the future, since being a limited resource, not everyone will have the same access to it, and in this sense, every litre counts. This is where small actions begin to make themselves felt, and innovative solutions become relevant. Currently, companies such as SOURCE are proposing solutions that, in addition to combating energy problems, are also contributing to sectors where the production of drinking water is complex.
Hydro panels try to solve these two problems in the best possible way; while they are capable of producing solar energy, with the same heat produced and the humidity of the air, these panels are capable of producing between 2 and 5 litres of totally drinkable water per day, thanks to the hygroscopic materials that compose them. This is literally taking water out of the air.
The coming decades will be decisive, and the power of countries will not be measured in terms of financial capacity but in their ability to generate and manage their natural resources. Perhaps new wars will be waged to seize these resources, something complex to assimilate, but when it comes to survival, where are the limits?