In a video conversation between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CEO of Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems, Henrik Andersen, Modi speculated that wind turbines could produce water out of thin air. Andersen smiles and replies that such ideas would keep the company’s engineers “very busy”.
Vestas’ Twitter response elaborated a bit further: “Great talk with Hon’ble PM @narendramodi on innovative ideas that can push the envelope in the #energytransition. Very insightful and we are very much looking forward to a continued collaboration and increased footprint in India.” @Vestas’ Henrik Andersen.”
Modi, who is a politician, has reasoned that a spinning turbine would be able to extract moisture from the air and condense it into water. Further speculation has contributed to his theory that a turbine could also separate oxygen from the air and produce not only electricity but also clean water and pure oxygen.
Political opponents have commented that Modi’s theories are mistaken and that his advisers are not confident enough to suggest alternative ideas.
While the idea of “piggy-backing” technologies is not unknown, wind turbines are specifically designed to keep moisture out, as that would corrode the internal machinery. However, wind power can be used to pump water from an underground source and to assist in desalination.
In 2012, French company, Eole Water, claimed to have produced up to 62 litres of water per hour from a turbine installed in the desert in Abu Dhabi. The company has since ceased operations.
Other operators, notably small companies in Israel and Morocco, have installed giant screens to capture moisture in desert regions.