Bluefield Daily Telegraph
By Emily D. Coppola, Nov 17, 2019

KIMBALL — McDowell County is now running state of the art technology to create water from solar-powered panels, at Five Loaves and Two Fishes food bank in Kimball.

On Saturday the first testing and tasting of the water were held and open to guests. The crystal clear water was labeled “good” by tasters. The project was a joint effort of Zero Mass Water, Dig Deep, and one2one.

Not only is this the first installation of the innovative technology to McDowell County but it’s also the first installation of the panels in the United States. Of McDowell County residents, Annie Lascoe, the chief relationship officer at Dig Deep said,

“Part of a tremendous resilient community that we have so much respect for. We want to figure out ways to help you out in ways that make sense that last a long time.”

According to Lascoe, Dig Deep is the “first and only” organization striving to provide clean drinking water for all Americans.

“We were just thrilled to be able to partner with Dig Deep and Zero Mass to make this project a reality,” Scott Krase, the founder of the one2one USA Foundation said.

The one2one USA Foundation funded the project to alleviate all stress for finance. With the funding taken care of Zero Mass was able to come in and create the panels to provide residents with the clean water they deserve.

“For the first time in really the world we have the ability to bring a new water source to places not just like McDowell County and the food bank but really to 2 plus million Americans that don’t have clean water,” Krase said.

With water issues in the county has been a concern for many years the installation of the panels will alleviate some stress of the residents. Now all who visit the food bank have the opportunity to enjoy the clean refreshing water.

“We know we’re not solving all the water needs that you all have but we’re going to make it a lot better. This is reliable water it tastes great,” Krase said. According to Krase the panels require no electricity and should last up to 20 years.

Colin Goddard, who works at Zero Mass Water, said, “Y’all should have clean drinking water like you deserve. We know that it’s been a challenging process and we know that we’ve made so much progress in humanity in terms of energy and communication, everyone’s talking on their cell phone and no one is using a landline but yet when it comes to drinking water that we put inside our bodies we’re still working in the Roman era.”

In the field by the food bank 24 hydro panels now sit waiting to collect natural moisture and humidity in the air to convert it into clean drinking water. According to Goddard, the panels use “nothing but the power of the sun.” 

The rays from the sun power fans in the back of the panels which brings air in, according to Goddard. In the panel there is a material that absorbs moisture from the air. This material creates a hardened form which is then softened by two solar thermal panels heat the air in the panel up. This is then applied to the material. 

“That temperature change is kind of like when you take a hot shower in a cold bathroom,” Goddard said referencing the condensation. The water is then collected in the bottom of the panel. The distilled water is then added with minerals within the panel, such as calcium, for the taste, Gonard said.

The water also doesn’t sit but is constantly filtered to ensure it’s as clean as possible.

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