Billboards: Watch this space 2

If we are trying to make everything adaptable, multi-purpose and sustainable then why not billboards? Consider all the space they take (physically and visually), their limited uses (advertising) and the cost involved in construction.

One of our previous Plantastic articles shared the idea of billboards being used for green space in LA. This time the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) of Peru has looked at using billboards to produce water…. surely billboards can’t produce water?

The experiment is being carried out on the Pan-American Highway in Lima. Lima is the largest city in Peru and has population of 7.6 million and the wider metropolitan population is approximately 8.4 million people, making it the 22nd largest city in the world ( Water scarcity is one of the biggest concerns in the area and residents depend on water trucks provided by private companies charging almost 20 times more than the cost of tap water (

Even though Lima has the world’s driest desert it also has an average humidity of 83 per cent. The experiment carried out by UTEC involves a reverse osmosis system where the air humidity is captured, condensed and converted into water. The billboard produces around 100 liters of water a day and it is pure drinking water.

Data from Mayo Draft FCB tells us the billboard has produced 9,450 liters of water in three months, which it says equals the water consumption of ‘hundreds of families per month’. The only problem is at this stage the system runs on electricity but it would be good to make them more self-sufficient by use of solar panels or other natural resources. Nevertheless I think it’s quite impressive to see billboards contributing to a social issue faced by Lima residents rather than just being used to show advertising.

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