April 8, 08
Coastal Fog Tower Concept Turns Deserts Into Sustainable Agriculture

Alberto Fernández and Susana Ortega have developed a Fog Tower concept that absorbs and channels water from the surrounding environment. The amazing helical structure would allow for the development of a sustainable agriculture environment at the edge of the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth.

The Coastal Fog Tower is highly specialized in this approach, utilizing a type of fog unique to Chile called “camanchaca“. This dense variety of coastal fog stretches from Peru to the northern Chilean regions, it condenses into a low-lying coastal cloud layer (200-400m above ground) that pushes inland with the wind.

Standing 400 meters tall, Fernández and Ortega’s seaside spire is a cloud catching marvel that stands to harvest airborne water molecules in the Huasco River valley. Its construction as a stacked weave serves to trap and wick moisture into the tower, while its spiraling structure provides a large surface area that funnels water into the basement. Here, trace minerals from the sea are filtered out via a reverse osmosis system, which is much more efficient than processing sea water into potable water via desalination plants. The end result is a water distribution system with a planned performance of 2-20 liters per square meter of vertical surface, producing from 20,000 to 200,000 liters of water per day.

Fog catching technology has already been deployed in some areas of Chile, providing a vital resource to communities that need it. The scale and distribution of these cloud castles could take this technology into the future. Whether or not such a tower is cost effective is not known at this time but this innovative design certainly deserves attention for it's inspirational appeal.