This project aims at advancing the development of a compact and lightweight battery-operated unit for production of water (4 litres per day) from atmospheric moisture.

Operating based on the Peltier effect, the unit incorporates semiconductor-based heat sources/sinks and a microfluidic heat exchanger. The project focuses on optimising the current design by minimising the unit’s energy footprint, physical dimensions and heat/noise signatures while improving its ruggedness.

Competitive advantage

  • Relying on ambient moisture as a source of water
  • Ability to produce drinking water from air even at very low absolute humidity levels (typically at levels greater than 5 grams per meter cube), thereby, deployable almost anywhere around the globe (except Antarctica where the absolute humidity is zero)
  • High efficiency (requires a 24 watt power source) and lightweight and compact

Successful applications of research

  • Implementation of the project outcomes into the design of the future field equipment for Australian Defence Force (ADF) combat personnel, particularly, the Special Forces


  • Australian National Fabrication Facility


  • The technology under development in this project provides the ADF personnel with a simple device for producing clean water in the battlefield
  • This should enhance the operational capabilities of the ADF's Special Forces which are often deployed as small teams to the field for extended period of time and lacking logistical support to replenish their drinking water supplies

Capabilities and facilities

  • State-of-the-art microfabrication facility fitted with an ISO 14644-1 Class-1 clean room
  • Access to the National Microfabrication Facility
  • Bench-scale setups and testing facilities
  • Micro-PIV and Micro-PLIF instruments for flow visualisation and mixing measurements in microfluidic devices

Further reading on: Enhanced Human Performance and Protection

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.