Jim Mason was first profiled in Reason in 2008 when his early attempts at homemade power generation ran afoul of regulators in his hometown of Berkeley, California. He fought through and created a business, All Power Labs, which turns trash into fuel.
In October, Mason and his crew were a core part of the Skysource/Skywater Alliance team that won a $1.5 million Water Abundance XPrize. Their gasification-powered prototype, called the WEDEW Watertainer, heats wood chips in a low-oxygen environment to generate gas that can be used to power an engine, providing the energy to extract at least 2,000 liters of water per day from the atmosphere at a cost of less than 2 cents per liter. This technology has the ability to produce cheap, drinkable water in areas far from modern plumbing or places where disaster has cut off normal water supplies—and to do it with a negative carbon footprint. Senior Editor Brian Doherty talked with Mason about the project in November.
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