Plug Power has been granted a patent for an atmospheric water generator (AWG) that extracts water from ambient air. The AWG includes a compact screw compressor, a condenser, an expansion device, and an evaporator to condense moisture from the air. The condensed water is collected in a water collection unit. The apparatus also includes a water treatment system and a controller for producing treated water from the air. GlobalData’s report on Plug Power gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Plug Power, reformer integrated fuel cells was a key innovation area identified from patents. Plug Power's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Patent granted for an atmospheric water generator apparatus

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Plug Power Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11679339B2) describes an apparatus for condensing water from the air. The apparatus includes a first atmospheric water generation circuit that consists of various components such as a condenser, expansion device, evaporator, compressor, fan, water treatment system, pump, and water line. The condenser and evaporator in the first circuit utilize microchannel coils to condense water from the air by transferring heat from the air to the refrigerant. The water condensed by the evaporator is collected in a container. The apparatus also features a subcooling system that absorbs heat from the refrigerant flowing between the condenser and expansion device. This subcooling system has a separate refrigerant circuit from the first atmospheric water generation circuit.

The apparatus further includes a controller that controls the operation of the fan, evaporator, compressor, and pump in the first atmospheric water generation circuit, as well as the subcooling system. The water treatment system is responsible for treating the water collected in the container for microbial, particulate, and dissolved mineral content. The pump, specifically a double diaphragm water condensate pump, is used to transfer water from the container through the water treatment system. Additionally, the apparatus can have a second atmospheric water generation circuit that operates similarly to the first circuit, with its own condenser, expansion device, evaporator, and compressor. The water collected by both evaporators is stored in the same container.

The apparatus is designed to be compact and can be positioned within a standard shipping container. It can produce a significant amount of water, with a capacity of up to or exceeding approximately 10,000 gallons per day. The method for condensing water using this apparatus involves compressing refrigerant, condensing it in the condenser, reducing pressure and temperature in the expansion device, condensing water from the air in the evaporator, and collecting the condensed water in a container. The method also includes operating a pump to transfer the collected water through a water treatment system and controlling the various components of the apparatus using a controller.

Overall, this patented apparatus offers a compact and efficient solution for condensing water from the air, with the ability to produce a large volume of treated water. The inclusion of a subcooling system and separate refrigerant circuits enhances the efficiency of the apparatus.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.