Maybe it’s just that I’m parched from the dry Las Vegas air, but it seems like water tech has been big at CES this year. There’s rOcean, the smart water machine which dispenses fizzy or flavored water on-demand. Zero Mass Water, which captures the humidity in the air and turns it into potable water with solar power, is also back.
This morning I had a chance to speak to another company trying to reinvent the way we get our H20. Watergen uses patented technology to create filtered water from air. The Israeli company’s water dispensers, called GENNYs, are about the size of a traditional water cooler and plug into electrical outlets. To make water, they suck air into the machine and cool it to a dew point to create water droplets, which is then filtered. A single GENNY can make up to 30 liters (8 gallons) of water per day and can be dispensed hot or chilled.
Watergen has been developing GENNY since 2009 and actually won a CES 2019 Best of Innovation award last year. However, it will finally start shipping the GENNY in the U.S., its first market, this June, for an MSRP of $2,499. Filters — which should be replaced every six months — will cost around $125. The GENNY will be available intially through Watergen’s website.
If you’re familiar with Zero Mass Water, you’ve probably noted that these two technologies sound pretty similar. But according to Watergen representative Nick Harris, GENNY is unique in that it can run on electricity and isn’t reliant on solar power (though the company is also developing a solar-powered device). That makes it a lot easier to set up in smaller settings, like homes or offices, and a lot easier to move. Zero Mass is also significantly more expensive; it costs over $5,000 to install a two-panel system, which creates enough water for four to six people (though they also have a new model which can be purchased for $2,500 each).
Watergen has a charitable mission as well. The company worked with the American Red Cross and FEMAA to donate some of its larger units to areas that lack consistent access to clean drinking water across the globe. Harris even told me they’d sent a unit to Flint, Michigan in the wake of the city’s enduring water crisis.
The Genny, however, is meant to be a more sustainable upgrade to home and office water coolers — no giant plastic water bottles required. And honestly, it’s about time that we start seeing some serious innovation in the H20 space. With rising populations and increased demands for meat, freshwater is becoming increasingly scarce. Places around the world — from developing countries to right here in the U.S. — struggle to have consistent access to clean drinking water. At the same time, our oceans are filling up with discarded plastic water bottles. Here’s hoping we see (and taste) more water tech at CES’s to come.
You can watch a video of me getting a tour of the GENNY device (and tasting its water!) from the CES show floor below.