Australian wins 2011 James Dyson Award with irrigation innovation

A young Australian might have managed to save rural farmers with an invention that can turn air into water.

Beating over 500 nominated projects, Melbournite Edward Linacre has been awarded the James Dyson Award for creating the “Airdrop”, an irrigation innovation with the ability to draw water from air even when it hasn’t rained in ages.

“One of the big driver for me was the devastation of the Murray-Darling area, where a family friend – an orange grower – he just told me of the devastation to the community there and it was all because of a lack of water,” Edward told GadgetGuy earlier today.

The technology was partially inspired by the Namib beetle, a species which survives in dry climates by living off of the dew it collects in the morning.

“Biomimicry is a powerful weapon in an engineer’s armoury,” said James Dyson. “Airdrop shows how simple, natural principles like the condensation of water, can be applied to good effect through skilled design and robust engineering. Young designers and engineers like Edward will develop the simple, effective technology of the future – they will tackle the world’s biggest problems and improve lives in the process.”

Based on Edward’s current research, roughly 11.5 millilitres of water could be derived from every cubic meter of air in deserts. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how this idea could help change the lives of farmers across the world.

It’s an excellent idea and one that should help Australian farmers a great deal. A massive congratulations to Edward.