Water Out Of Air Is Irrigating Big Profits

Abhishek Kumar Singh
Abhishek Kumar Singh Feb 14 2023 - 6 min read
Water Out Of Air Is Irrigating Big Profits
According to a 2022 report by Jal Shakti Ministry, the total annual ground water recharge for the entire country is 437.60 billion cubic meters (BCM) and annual ground water extraction stands at 239.16 BCM. 

A magician pulling a rabbit out of thin air might still be a puzzle for the spectators, but the idea of pulling water out of thin air is a natural phenomenon. Reason behind this is that air contains water. Still, very few of us have given it a thought that we can make use of this phenomenon to get fresh water. A company from Bengaluru has come up with the simple yet unique idea of converting water in the air for consumption. Abhishek Kumar Singh of Opportunity India talked to Pardeep Garg, Co-Founder of Uravu Labs, to understand more about the functioning of the company and its product range. 

The Ideation 

The co-founders Venkatesh RY and Swapnil Shrivastav were studying at NIT, Calicut, Kerala. During their final year, the city of Calicut had faced severe drought. Living in a hostel, there were those days when they were left with just one bucket of water for every person. This is an issue that many parts of India will face and realizing that there's more to it than what is seen, the duo decided to do something about it. They discovered an abundant and inexhaustible source of water - the air around us. Both Swapnil and Venkatesh were able to understand the water crisis on the ground by visiting many rural areas in Gujarat and Rajasthan. They had also discovered that many major metropolitan areas extract more than 100 per cent of their renewable water reserve, with Delhi extracting 120 per cent and Punjab extracting 166 per cent. Swapnil reached out to a professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc, Bangalore) who specialized in thermal, solar and absorption technology, who then recommended one of his students, Pardeep Garg, to help turn the dream of 100 percent renewable water into a reality. Uravu's success story was fueled by these timely choices. 

Services and Products 

Uravu labs has two sales models, one is Direct Asset Sales where it sells machines directly to its customers and other is Water as a Service (WaaS) model. Pardeeep said, “We have scaled up the capacity of machines up to 200 LPD and 1000 LPD machines. As for the traction, under the Direct Sales model, we have received three orders for 200 LPD machines and under the WaaS model, we are working with restaurants in Bengaluru for the bottles”. He then added that Uravu has recently launched a Business to Business to Customer packaged renewable water product in reusable glass bottles with India’s first craft house - Roxie, Sarjapur. Also, the company has a pilot going on with AB InBev and Radico Khaitan. 


Uravu Labs has recently closed its seed round of funding, with lead investor Anicut Capital. This round also had other investors like Rocketship.vc and Special Invest, Vesta (France), Venture Catalysts (India), Verso Holdings (Luxembourg), Spectrum Impact (India), Echo River Capital (US), along with some angel investors from India, US and Middle East. When asked about the funding part, Pardeed said, the funding amount in the last round was USD 2 million for seed round and total funding raised till now is USD 2.3 million. 

How Does the Product Work?

Pardeep Said, “The machines at Uravu use thermal energy (Waste Heat or Solar) and desiccant material to source ~100 percent renewable water from humidity in the air.” This technology utilizes desiccants and runs in two phases in a cycle. During the adsorption process, water vapor in the air is adsorbed by a desiccant material. The adsorbed water vapor is later desorbed using thermal heat available at temperatures less than 90 degrees Celsius. This water vapor is condensed at ambient temperature in an air-cooled condenser forming pure distilled water.  

Pricing and Affordability 

The product comes in two models: the Direct Sales model, where the machine capacities vary from 5 LPD (Liters per day) to 200 LPD. The pricing varies with the size of the machine according to the customer requirements. “We are now scaling up to 1000 LPD models for machines and planning to provide lease models that bear less capital expenditure. This makes it quite affordable for the consumers,” said Pardeep.   He also added that, in the WaaS (Water as a Service) model, the customers pay only for the water they use, i.e., the water bottles. These bottles are available in two variants: recyclable plastic bottles and pristine, reusable glass bottles. 


The world is shrinking and we are becoming more reliant on compact things. We asked Pardeep about how compact this device is. He replied, “As being a part of the renewable technology, it is difficult to be area compact. Even when we take an example of Solar PV, or even in case of wind energy, the area required is quite high. Our units can extract 2.5 L of water per square meter per day. Our desiccant unit in itself is compact i.e., about 10 sq m but the Solar panel makes it area intensive, making it 100 sq m for 200 LPD.  However, we are continually striving to progress our technology and make our devices much more compact.”

He added that even though this idea of making the machine a plug and play device, the company is not focusing on that for now. “Nonetheless, with continuous progress in technology we would be able to develop a mobile unit and make it compact to be carried around in a 3-5 years timeline. The focus for the company is on commercial and industrial applications and not on consumer/ mobile devices for now,” he added. 

He cleared that company is focusing mainly on the beverage industries, since they are the major consumers of groundwater. Hotels, restaurants and cafes are also on the radar and will be tapped eventually . Pardeep said that the target market consumes more than 1500 billion liters of water per annum and values more than two Trillion  globally. “With the rampant groundwater depletion, we are targeting to replace 5-10 percent of this water with renewable water sources thereby creating a multi-billion dollar opportunity for Uravu,” he said.

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