Fontus - self-filling water bottle (indiegogo scam campaign?)

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Trigger Hippie

Senior Member
Further down that same page, in the FAQ, they claim to be able to collect up to 11 gallons.

I think I found the source of the discrepancy. They provide a link to what they claim is a more detailed PDF outlining the results of our WaterSeer™ Collider Innovation Challenge.

In it they claim to have a design capable of 37 liters and then an improved version capable of 11 gallons.

http://waterseer.org/assets/waterseer_field_test_results_v2_7.pdf

 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
So "could" it hypothetically make 11 gallons or did it actually make 11 gallons? I find the phrasing ambiguous.
I don't think it's ambiguous, really. It says a full-scale device could generate 11 gallons.

Ian's response above further indicates that (a) this figure was based on a mathematical analysis extrapolated from limited testing, not a full device, (b) it relates to very favourable atmospheric and soil conditions, and (c) it should be 11 litres, not gallons.


BTW it was very foggy here this morning. By the time I'd cycled to the station, my eyebrows and even eyelashes were covered with droplets of condensed water. Who wants to help me monetise this discovery? We need a snappy name.

IMG_8111.JPG
 
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cloudspotter

Senior Member
I don't think it's ambiguous, really. It says a full-scale device could generate 11 gallons.

Ian's response above further indicates that (a) this figure was based on a mathematical analysis extrapolated from limited testing, not a full device, (b) it relates to very favourable atmospheric and soil conditions, and (c) it should be 11 litres, not gallons.


BTW it was very foggy here this morning. By the time I'd cycled to the station, my eyebrows and even eyelashes were covered with droplets of condensed water. Who wants to help me monetise this discovery? We need a snappy name.

View attachment 22310
LashingIt DownTM​
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member
I get the same in my butt cleavage...

[admin removed image in the name of sanity]

How much would that be worth? :D

(note - no image really posted)
 

Bruno D.

Senior Member
Hey @Fontus, want to comment on your latest update?

Despite all the simple physics and math discussed here and elsewhere, you still insisted that it was not a scam, and now you come with this update for your 1.439 backers? Wishing them all a peaceful Christmas?

You promised one thousand people a product and you are deliverying "one step nearer"?

You do have zero shame, don't you?
 
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My1

New Member
ouch, this update hurts. The only worse thing that I saw was the Waterseer, which put out the image of helping in areas with little to no water. (of course also completely debunked by Thunderf00t)
 

Graham2001

Active Member
Thunderf00t has done a video covering the situation up to the current date (March 9, 2017). Apparently they have won an award and a grant from the Austrian Government for being a successful startup.

 

Geonerd

New Member
Thunderf00t has done a video covering the situation up to the current date (March 9, 2017). Apparently they have won an award and a grant from the Austrian Government for being a successful startup.
It's a shame this bunch is still in business, much less getting awards of any sort.
Sorry, couldn't take more than about 4 minutes of TF's smarmy, self-congratulating spew. :/
 

NoParty

Senior Member
The guy for whom my heart truly breaks is poor Markus "Appi" Apperle,
(from way back in post #47) whose promising mountain biking career was surely
brought to a tragic, screeching halt, by the unavailability of the Fontus bottle: :(

Apperle.png
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
The guy for whom my heart truly breaks is poor Markus "Appi" Apperle,
(from way back in post #47) whose promising mountain biking career was surely
brought to a tragic, screeching halt, by the unavailability of the Fontus bottle: :(

View attachment 25767
On his YouTube channel it looks like he has been going on plenty of adventures without a Fontus. But then there is lots of snow around so water might not be a problem.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7pOKZ4G12U
 

abacab

New Member
Hi, new here. This one has been gripping my goat, as it were, since I saw TF's video on it.

My summary: bunch of self-promoting art students think they can do science and engineering, come up with a swanky design and discover that there are other people similarly lacking in basic thermodynamics who will lavish them with indiegogo money, and end up down a rabbit hole of their own making.

Anyway, I thought I'd look into their patent claim a little further, which they claimed to have filed back in 2015. Now, patent applications are usually published 18 months from first filing. So, given that today is April 15 2017, if they'd filed something before mid October 2015, it should be showing up by now.

Soooo, they have a GmbH: Fontus Water Technology GmbH: https://worldwide.espacenet.com/sea...I=&AB=&PN=&AP=&PR=&PD=&PA=fontus&IN=&CPC=&IC= Nope. But they might have filed under another name....

What about Kristof Retezar - he's referred to as the "creator", so he should be listed as inventor, right? https://worldwide.espacenet.com/sea...=&AB=&PN=&AP=&PR=&PD=&PA=&IN=retezar&CPC=&IC= Hmm, nobody called "retezar" is listed in the EPO's worldwide database at all as inventor...

Nothing with him as applicant either...

Nothing in the Austrian patent register either...

Basically by the end of June 2017 this claim of having filed a patent application can be confirmed or busted. And claiming "patent pending" without the right to do so can carry heavy penalties, particularly in the US where they were operating for a while.

Fun times!

Does anyone have a date when they first claimed to have filed a patent or be patent pending?
 

NoParty

Senior Member
As much as I despise the Fontus weasels, and am glad to see their current status,
I thought of them yesterday as I heard a radio account that U.C. Berkeley announced Thursday.
(in short, it's a "water harvester" assembled at M.I.T. using Cal MOF technology, as reported in Science mag)

http://news.berkeley.edu/2017/04/13/device-pulls-water-from-dry-air-powered-only-by-the-sun/

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/new-solar-powered-device-can-pull-water-straight-desert-air

cc_device_final.png

Now, in no way does this development validate the lies of the Fontus group...
but it's cool and may be a step forward...
 

txt29

Active Member
Recently there is an invention by MIT (http://newatlas.com/solar-harvester-berkeley-mit/49008/) claiming to be able to extract 2.8 liters (3 quarts) of water from the air over a 12-hour period, using one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of MOF at humidity levels as low as 20 percent, using solar power, but I did not read the original study yet to see how much power was needed. In any case, the original calculation I made at the beginning of this thread, showing the volume of air that would have to be processed by such device, is still valid. In no way the figures given by Fontus could be valid. The MIT invention may be intresting, but still the volume of water per energy input cannot be anywhere close to the Fontus claims.

Edit: Oops, I see NoParty posted about it in the time I was writing my post, so sorry about the duplicate
 

abacab

New Member
Fundamentally, and irrespective of the tech used, you can't get over the latent heat of vaporisation. You can increase the efficiency, yes, but you still have that baseline of having to dump 2.26 MJ/kg (0.63 kWh/kg) out of the water vapour to make it condense. The MIT device seems to concentrate atmospheric water in their matrix, then evaporate it with solar heat (to make a warmer, higher rH medium), and then re-condense it on their cold sink. So they're still going to have to dump that latent heat, and they're claiming that their cold sink is at ambient temperature..... On the principle OK for certain ambient temperatures, but I'd need to see their maths, frankly.

Their claim of 2.8L in 12 h means they claim to have dumped 0.63x2.8=1.76 kWh in 12h = 147 W average... assuming no re-evaporation, and by means of a condensor that's at ambient temperature? Again, I'd like to see their maths...

Since my post yesterday I've also found Herr Retezar's industrial design portfolio from March 27, 2014 which contains some more Fontus stuff: https://issuu.com/retezar/docs/portfolio_issu
 
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Efftup

Senior Member
their 2.8l was 2.8 litres per kilogram of material. it's possible this is true for the size they had but that it would not be able to actually be scaled up like that, as you said, due to heat.
 

Spiemel

New Member
Does anyone have a date when they first claimed to have filed a patent or be patent pending?
First time I saw a patent even being mentioned was in their Indiegogo campaign around march/april of last year (2016). Here is the timeline which is currently still on their IDD page:



In one of my earlier posts I was trying to find the angle you are describing which is to figure out whether they actually filed or not, because filing a patent in most countries is a public process, especially once a patent has been granted to you (and often illegal to claim a patent when there is none granted). What irked me about Fontus is that they claimed secrecy about the technology they used in some of the correspondence on this forum, "because they have a patent filed" or something of that order. But the problem with that reasoning is that filing a patent inherently discloses exactly what your technology is, in order for you to protect it from copying/reverse engineering etc. Claiming secret technology combined with the concept of patents is inherently a contradiction-in-terms.

So besides not having any clue about engineering and physics, they are also clueless about basic concepts of patent law (I am not a law experts by any means, but even that is something that reasonably educated 'inventor' should know). Art students should stick with what they know or at least know what they don't know and hire experts in those areas to complement their own talents (i.e. compensate for their gaps in knowledge).
 

abacab

New Member
Claiming secret technology combined with the concept of patents is inherently a contradiction-in-terms.

So besides not having any clue about engineering and physics, they are also clueless about basic concepts of patent law (I am not a law experts by any means, but even that is something that reasonably educated 'inventor' should know). Art students should stick with what they know or at least know what they don't know and hire experts in those areas to complement their own talents (i.e. compensate for their gaps in knowledge).
There are potential grounds for keeping certain aspects secret before the patent application publishes 18 months from priority (notably to avoid generating prior art against a further patent application yet to be filed). But that seems far too nuanced for our art students here, who had even submitted their design for awards before filing a patent application......... oops...

Anyway, talking of awards, in my professional work I often get spam mail telling me I've been shortlisted for various "awards", which are mine for a mere couple of hundred dollars for a trophy and a mention in a booklet or something. If I were a narcissist I'd be all over them in a heartbeat to show how good I am cos I've won awards based on... paying fees to people who grant awards to anyone who pays fees...

I'll have a look again in a couple of months to see if anything is published that was filed in 2015. Even if nothing does publish, that doesn't mean that they didn't file something and then withdraw it before publication. But to still claim patent pending once no rights are outstanding is a Big No-No in many countries, particularly the US... Can get you into a world of hurt.

Hey, Fontus, if you're reading, you can tell us your patent application numbers - nobody can do anything with them until they're published by the offices anyway, but it would mean we'd know what to look for when it does publish.
 

aczlan

Member
A 20w panel hooked up through a USB socket? I mean, sure, technically it's physically possible, the conductors in there can handle a lot more than that, but I don't think any responsible manufacturer is going to make a kit that puts that kind of wattage through a USB port when the specifications limit port draw to 900 mA at 5v (i.e. 4.5w). All something more powerful would be good for is damaging people's devices. There's a reason why most kits have a separate part for USB hookups and not straight off the panel.
Note that USB provides for up to 2 amps at 5VDC.
Source, page 9 of: http://www.usb.org/developers/powerdelivery/PD_1.0_Introduction.pdf
See also http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/devclass_docs/BCv1.2_070312.zip if you want to get into the nitty gritty.

Aaron Z
 

Spiemel

New Member
Note that USB provides for up to 2 amps at 5VDC.
Source, page 9 of: http://www.usb.org/developers/powerdelivery/PD_1.0_Introduction.pdf
See also http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/devclass_docs/BCv1.2_070312.zip if you want to get into the nitty gritty.

Aaron Z
1) Many companies run more wattage through USB ports than allowed by the official specs. It just means in some cases they have to refer to the ports as USB-compatible instead of USB compliant. Apple used to run 2mA through their ports to be able to run their external diskdrive on the older macbook Airs. The new USB-C (PD) standards are officially allowed to run 30W and higher even nowadays.

But nonetheless, it is another aspect of building new products that has to be taken into account. It would have been a rather minor challenge to overcome compared to the thermodynamic improbabilities.

2) Right now, I doubt they actually have been working really hard on the solar panel yet, since in one of their comments on IGG from a month ago their founder said

This means they probably found out no supplier could manufacture a (flexible) solar panel that resembles their promo video while providing the energy they need to run their prototypes (or a supplier provided a foldable one that could produce up to 10-15W maybe at best). So now they are switching over to "flexible energy supply" whatever that may be (do I smell a lithium ion battery?). This is similar to what happened with the Triton when those guys found out you cannot extract that amount of air from water at those flow rates, so they added a micro-oxygen canister in an updated design (which like Fontus also wouldn't work because you cannot out-engineer laws of physics). We can expect something similar from Fontus in their next prototype if the backers will receive any meaningful update anything at all (other than the anticipated: we are working hard bla bla, setbacks and delays due to other people/companies bla bla, we will provide more information soon bla bla).

3) In their quote they are working on "a new concept for the Airo"; I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't a bottle at all anymore. They found out that their suppliers cannot miniaturise the peltier devices to a small enough size with the heaters attached to fit the top of a bottle, so they have to bring out something new.

4) Why would they be working on an "intelligent weather recognition system", when they should be working on a self-filling water bottle? Because pretty soon now they will need something to distract from the fact that they won't be able to deliver on the original product. It's the same as the misdirection used by magicians to lure the attention from the public away from their trick.

5) their shipping deadline (april 2017) has expired, so their backers will start making noise (the first backer had wondered where the shipped product is). It will be interesting to see when the requests for refunds will start pouring in.

To close off: the problem with Fontus is that we should not allow them the benefit of the doubt because the theory behind their concept works: meaning, it is theoretically and practically possible to extract water from air through a heat-exchanger or a myriad of other ways, but that doesn't give them the freedom to do what they did and are doing. The problem is that they collected funds from the public promising a product without having a clue or even spent a small amount of time talking to actual engineers/physicist before they started the campaign (even though they claim to have been working on this product for a few years since articles about Fontus bottles can be found as far back as 2014). From their side, it is criminal negligence at best, and fraud at worst. I am inching more and more towards the latter if you consider all of their tactics combined: use of pay site awards, their ridiculous shipping prices which have no basis in actual shipping costs, their disingenuous updates and misleading or outright false claims on this forum and their IGG page, their dubious claims about patenting etc etc.
 
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Alan Steffens

New Member
OK, Fontus seems busted pretty well, but I just noticed that MIT announced a similar "water from air" device.
Excerpt:
How the hell do they think this is going to work? The amount of heat they will have to remove from the system for 1 liter of water astronomical, and with no additional power input? Did they not hear about Waterseer or Fontus?
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
OK, Fontus seems busted pretty well, but I just noticed that MIT announced a similar "water from air" device.
It's not really similar. Fontus relied on cooling a surface on which water condenses. MOF is very different, absorbing water at night, and then using heat to release it the next day.

20170505-110328-bkngh.jpg

Also discussed above, starting at:
https://www.metabunk.org/posts/204820/

The MIT MOF system does look like it uses a Peltier cooler though, for the condenser.
 
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Alan Steffens

New Member
It's not really similar. Fontus relied on cooling a surface on which water condenses. MOF is very different, absorbing water at night, and then using heat to release it the next day.

View attachment 26642

Also discussed above, starting at:
https://www.metabunk.org/posts/204820/

The MIT MOF system does look like it uses a Peltier cooler though, for the condenser.
True enough, most of the similarity to me lies in the lack of awareness of thermodynamics. It's frustrating to see university scientists falling for "click-bait" science.

Doing real science is hard enough. Maybe they should have focused on developing a new metal oxide desiccant with improved properties over existing, but instead they shove it all the way to this "free water from air" engineering application that simply can't work without ten-fold improvement in energy efficiency of any existing condensation technology.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member
True enough, most of the similarity to me lies in the lack of awareness of thermodynamics. It's frustrating to see university scientists falling for "click-bait" science.

Doing real science is hard enough. Maybe they should have focused on developing a new metal oxide desiccant with improved properties over existing, but instead they shove it all the way to this "free water from air" engineering application that simply can't work without ten-fold improvement in energy efficiency of any existing condensation technology.
Yes, and the number of "science writers" who re-published the story about it.
 

Spiemel

New Member
Hooray, they posted an update a month after passing their shipping deadline announcing shipping
Here is their .pdf update:
http://www.fontus.at/fontus-update.pdf

And a little video they made of the new concept model:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8TlLTFOZmg&feature=youtu.be


Things to take out of the update so far:
1) They finally confirmed they are going the Peltier/TEC route. Oh how fun to look up those posts on this forum or on the IGG page where they resolutely claimed they weren't using a Peltier device, but some other 'super secret' technology.
2) Their solar matt went from this small shell you wrap around the bottle to a whole mat. At the bottom of their pdf update the folded mat looks about the size of a small laptop bag, which makes sense if you need to bring a mat that needs to generate 80W (see next point)
3) Their efficiency numbers have gone waay waay down. Their hiking efficiency with the 80W solar matt at 60-90% humidity at 25-35C is 500-1500ml PER DAY. Yup, no more 0,5 L per HOUR dear IGG backers, under the more realistic conditions you will be at the bottom range, so you get that 0,5L per day (and Thunderf00t already calculated that that would be the water production for a 100% efficient system).
And best thing is, that will only be produced if you lay out the mat for 12hours of full sun. So don't go hiking too far from your solar mat/Fontus bottle, because people might steal it. Unless people recognize it for a Fontus and just won't bother stealing it. PS: I always love to go hiking with carrying a solar matt that size around with me, it's super convenient.
4) It is highly unlikely if you have the device working for 12h straight, the cooling of the heated side of the Peltier is anywhere near what is needed to sustain TEC efficiency as they claim in their charts with a tiny laptop fan. The lower the temp differential, the less efficient the Peltier becomes, which makes the 12h cycle even less likely to yield useful amounts of water.
5) They haven't figured out yet if they want to put the power connecter/converter at the bottom or the top. Right now their model puts it at the bottom and connects a flat cable on the side of the bottle to the top part where the TEC components and fan are located. And they claim they might move it to the top. They say they are 3-5 months out of production start and they haven't finalised something as important as the electronics assembly yet, because you know, those things are always easy to mass manufacture into a custom enclosure.
6) Based on wall socket power supply they claim about 2-3,5L per day. That would put them in range of the average dehumidifiers, however they would still be 1/10 of the volume of regular dehumidifiers. Their Peltier device is way smaller, so very likely they are still pulling these numbers out of the place where the sun don't shine. BTW: a 200W AC-DC powersupply a a whole lot bigger than that bottom black assembly they have shown so far. Imagine the powerbricks of laptops. Even Apple which does everything to try to miniaturise their stuff, their 87W powersupply for the macbook PROs are bigger in volume than what the black bottom of the AIRO is. Unless Fontus are shipping it with an external powersupply suitable for a mid sized 15" laptop.
7) I googled a couple of 80W foldable solar mats, or solar blankets. Theirs look a lot like the one from ALLPOWERS which retails for 200USD. https://www.amazon.com/ALLPOWERS-Fo...re-20&linkId=ed182dff9339d9cbe592e718afafe86f
About the same price as the Airo itself. They claim on IGG that they will still include a solar panel, so here is the upside for the IGG backers: if you get something like the ALLPOWERS solar blanket with your Fontus AIRO, at least you got a product roughly worth the money of your pledge.
8) They are accepting refunds until 30th of June 2017.
9) They are no longer releasing the Ryde version. I guess trying to fudge the numbers for that device was a bridge too far even for them. Ryde backers will get the AIRO instead.
10) they advertise how easy it is to use the AIRO plugged into the wall at home... you know... where most people have their water taps and Britas? Super convenient Fontus!
Fontus.jpg
 
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Efftup

Senior Member
Yeah. I thought that.
Do I have a Brita filter (other filters are available) at home, capable of filtering many many litres of tap water a day. at home and just take a 2 litre full bottle hiking. (gets lighter throughout the day and always has some water in it)

OR

Do I spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle and mat that takes ages to get water from at home (compared to 30 seconds to run it through the filter) and 12 hours of leaving lying around in the sun with a huge mat that combined with the bottle clearly weighs more than 2kg (the weight of my 2litre bottle of water) and won't provide as much water in a DAY as I just took out in the first place, at the end of the day, when I hike/cycle home with half a litre left in my 2 litre bottle that could easily be one of those collapsible ones, I am STILL lugging around more than 2kg of solar panel and bottle. with at best a small dribble in. while I am really thirsty.
 

Efftup

Senior Member
I also like the fact that having gone to great lengths to show it folded up smaller, when they went "out in nature" they left it full size.
 

Spiemel

New Member
To continue the observations on the new design:

11) they claim 40% smaller, but that basically also means roughly contains 40% less volume for water to carry. Now in the situation where the bottle is filled up, with their expanded construction, it means you are carrying 40% less water with a greater volume in total since you are still carrying that much larger TEC/Fan assembly with you on the side or on top.
12) what does 20% 'smarter' mean when referring to a self-filling bottle? What is the quantitative measurement of 'smart' of that bottle in the initial design that now makes it 20% on top of that original amount of 'smart'?
13) Efftup is totally correct. The benchmark solar mat is 4.8pounds so a bit over 2kg. Now I would be interested a weight comparison between original design (narrow, long cilinder with tiny TEC/Fan on top and a solar mat that was roughly 2-3mm thick wrapped around the bottle. Let's say the original bottle was 0,5kg including the original mat (for this comparison that is actually doing them a favor going a bit high here than their original design might have envisioned, since we want to calculate the difference). The new design with the bigger TEC/Fan assembly, extra ' flexible power converter' would come in at let's say 1kg. Add up the 2kg for the solar blanket and you are carrying 3kg of stuff with you on your hike that produces very little water. So weight wise the new design went up 600% (from 0,5K to 3kg). Luckily it is still 20% 'smarter', that really helps when carrying all that weight around on your hike.
14) If you add the volume of the new 80W solar mat, the total package you are carrying, is not at all 40% smaller, it is much bigger than the original combo of their bottle and mat.
15) the assembly will be very prone to water damage. Something maybe under-evaluated so far. In dehumidifiers, the combination of water and electronics is less of a problem because the unit is mostly stationary and the manufacturer warns that before moving it around, usually you should empty the water container first. This is because the channel that dumps the water from the Peltier to the water container, if being moved, needs to be water tight to prevent it from going back to where all the electronics are. In a dehumidifier a long tube with some bends in it and perhaps a weak one-way rubber seal would suffice since you are instructed to empty the container always first. The valve has to be weak because it is basically gravity and maybe capillary effect that has to somehow draw down the water from the Peltier. In a water bottle, that can easily tip over, I wonder how they are going to solve the problem of being able to release the water from the Peltier to the water container, while also preventing water from going back up when the thing tips over or is moved with water in it (you know, because the sun moves during that 12h period you are filling the bottle and you need to probably move that solar mat a couple of times to avoid shade). These are essential design and engineering challenges when working with water and electronics and can become the major point of failure for devices if not engineered properly. The issue is especially that you cannot use a heavy one way valve, since there is no pressure behind the water dripping (if any) from the Peltier to push the valve open to drip into the bottle and then the valve re-sealing itself back again to prevent reverse water flow. A single errant drop of water every now and then that rests on the electric connections can already start the rusting process or even worst short circuit if it lands in the wrong spot.

Since they are offering refunds anyway, why don't they just refund everyone and move on to doing what they clearly are capable of: designing things in CAD and making videos. You can make quite a respectable living off of that without screwing over the public.
 

Alan Steffens

New Member
Thanks for the update Spiemel. I have noticed that Thunderf00t released a new video about this.

Your comment about the electronics is very on-point. I doubt very much that they will be able to produce this Airo even at reduced specs. Who is going to produce the circuit boards for them? Some cheap Asian outfit? Even if this product goes to market, I suspect it will be borderline functional, and fail within weeks of any kind of regular use. Probably due to overheating or moisture.
 

abacab

New Member
Still no patent publication with Fontus as applicant or Retezar as inventor...

What's funny with the update is during most of the new video it's clear that the working parts of the new design are empty - you can see light through the vent holes.....

Another point with regards to this kind of technology - any dust in the air will end up in the water. If the dust isn't sanitary or is otherwise polluted with nasties, it's not going to make safe drinking water, irrespective of the thermodynamic concerns.
 

Spiemel

New Member
Another point with regards to this kind of technology - any dust in the air will end up in the water. If the dust isn't sanitary or is otherwise polluted with nasties, it's not going to make safe drinking water, irrespective of the thermodynamic concerns.
If we disregards thermodynamics and dive into the engineering part of the bottle, things become very difficult indeed with amongst others the air polluting the water. In their pdf they claim that an airfilter will be installed "temptatively" (they probably mean 'tentatively', but that's less of the point). Installing an air filter was needed to be added to the bottle, because early on when most people didn't even mention thermodynamics yet, most were voicing concerns about 1) pathogens and dust from the air, and 2) about drinking the equivalent of distilled water (for some weird reason people thought water was the only source of minerals for the human body and that drinking distilled water would be a huge risk).

Pathogens/airfilter

- Building the system with an airfilter that handles this at this size is a huge, likely insurmountable engineering challenge. They probably think dehumidifiers have air filters, so this should be able to have them too without any issues, since they have a dehumidifier right? Wrong, the problem here is that dehumidifiers are only concerned with filtering the air that comes out of the dehumidifier and don't care how dirty the water is that is drained to a container. That is fairly straight forward because you only need to have the filter on the exhaust end of the airflow.
- The Fontus bottle is concerned about filtering the air that comes into the bottle, but ALSO on the exhaust end, since pathogens can come in from any side to contaminate the surface of the Peltier. This means they need to cocoon the entire cooling side of the Peltier around a HEPA (or HEPA like) filter. Furthermore, the entire cold side of the Peltier needs to be hermetically sealed away from the hot side to avoid air form the 'dirty' hot side from coming into contact with the air on the clean and cold side (apart from the fact that you want to keep hot air away from the cold side anyway) and if there is a direction in the airflow of the cold side at all, both intake and outlet have to be going through a HEPA-like filter.

This causes 2 engineering challenges:
1) How do you install an engine and fan strong enough to pull air through a HEPA filter to ensure you can extract enough water to condense, given that you can only condense a small portion of water at a time before you need to pull fresh air over the Peltier again. Anything with a HEPA filter usually makes a lot of noise, why?: because powerful fans/engine is needed to push/pull the air through the micro-filter cavities. Where is the room on top of that redesigned bottle to install a powerful fan to pull the air through the condensing part? The fan on top of the Fontus unit is clearly meant to cool the heatsink not for pulling any air through a filter on the bottom part and we already established that that top fan can not support the airflow of the bottom/cold part of the Peltier since it had to be separated anyway from the cold part.
2) How do you keep the HEPA cocoon around the Peltier dry? Water on these filters are not very good for them, but we just established that the entire bottom part of the Peltier needed to be surrounded by the filter to avoid contaminants to come in. But that means you are putting dripping water from the cool Peltier side, awfully close to the filter, since the bottle diameter is only about 12cm, so there isn't very much room to play around with especially if you need to install as large a Peltier as possible to generate any kind of water at all. In dehumidifiers this problem again is less of an issue since dehumidifiers are larger, where you can build an air channel away from the Peltier first (with some bends) and only then then push the air through the filter. We already established before that manufacturers don't want you moving a dehumidifier around when the water container is full. Furthermore, dehumidifiers have more room to separate the watercontainer further away from the filters as well as the Peltier from the Filters.

So basically, adding a microbial level filter seems to be a no-go for them and I wonder how they will address the concerns of people about bacteria like legionella etc after they announce that they cannot install an air filter after all and hide behind the 'temptative' label of the air filter aspect of the redesigned unit.

Mineralization
Something very funny is going on with the whole mineralization tablets. Back when Fontus first started many people on social media were commenting on how cool the bottle was but that they were concerned about drinking what seemed like distilled water (or the equivalent of it). For arguments sake lets assume that the water would indeed have been devoid of any minerals.
Fontus after a while responded by saying that they would make the bottle have a bottom compartment that contains tablets to re-mineralize the water, all to appease the mass of comments about lack of minerals and that is the version they released for IGG (see bottom of image of the original IGG Airo bottle).

zxzexvqwaac76kk6x5gp.jpg

- The concerns about the lack of minerals were absurd of course. The bottle was meant to provide water during hikes or or short trips. First off, a large portion of minerals are or can be readily provided by food. Dehydration is a much larger risk than any minerals deficiency you might have in the period you are dying of thirst. Anyone willing and prepared enough to bring a 250USD bottle on a hike, probably has power bars and enough food for the trip with them, while relying on that magical 0.8L/hour water from the Fontus for hydration. But since these art students lack any hint of scientific understanding, they simply through, hey, let's add a chamber to shut up the critics, not knowing it was a solution to a non-existent problem. Mineral deficiency is something that would only occur over weeks or likely months under a normal diet, if at all.
- In the latest iteration Fontus kept the re-mineralization need alive, by saying that you can add your tablets after pouring water out the Airo. The reason they now claim you have to add the minerals yourself afterwards, is because the bottom in the new redesigned bottle is reserved for the intelligent power converter or whatever they call it. So they no longer could add the 'chamber for minerals' unless they would make the volume for water even less.
- And here is the kicker: they now show the Fontus in a kitchen setting, plugged in and generating water of the mains power and then adding a tablet afterwards. All the while it is faster and cheaper to get water out of the tap and yes: that tap water already has minerals so you don't need to add any anymore (although we already said it was not needed anyway).

So they created a bottle that included a solution for a non-existent problem of mineral deficiency that now is scrapped and replaced by adding your own tablets, while you are at home where you have all the mineralised water and food you can imagine to avoid getting a mineral deficiency in the first place.

These guys are so clueless that it all would be funny if only they weren't scamming 1600 people out of their hard earned money.
 

abacab

New Member
@Spiemel +1.

What's incredible here is that Retezar is clearly a talented industrial designer (have a flick through his online portfolio - it's all good stuff from a packaging and aesthetic perspective), and good at talking people out of money (IGG, government grants). Until the scientific wheels came off.

I wonder if he set out to scam, or if he just got carried away when the IGG money started flowing and he was clueless as to the scientific issues? I suspect the latter. Two years' work at the University of Applied Arts, and nobody thought to ask someone at Vienna Polytechnic over a beer as to whether the science worked, or why nobody had done this yet. It's very much "if this works, someone would have done it years ago"-type technology.

Meanwhile, I'll sit back, crack a beer, and watch the slow-motion train-wreck unfurl.
 

Spiemel

New Member


I'm going with the latter as well, they are young and enthusiastic students that got too deep in over heads, BUT: they were warned quite early on in their campaign that it could not work thermodynamically. They saw the videos of Thunderf00t, EEVblog and the comments from this forum. At that point, a responsible company would at least investigate the validity of the claims (even if outwardly you want to contain the damage and won't immediately admit wrongdoing, you should check out what the fuss is about). But they didn't do that. They continued and kept denying Peltier devices would be used, came up with wild claims about new things they invented, patents filed etc etc.

Now, without admitting it outright, but through the publication of the new specs, they basically have conceded that what they initially projected was totally off base and the critics were right after all. You go from unwitting startup to being criminally accountable when you don't do your homework and deceive customers through your ineptitude. In Europe there tends to be strong rules around corporate governance, where directors/board members of companies can be held personally liable for wrong doing of the company if 'a reasonable director could have or should have known about the malpractice of the company they lead' The protections of the directors are then dissolved because they cannot hide behind gross incompetence or negligence as a defence. I don't know if Austrian corporate law works that way, but if it does, then they might still be in a lot of personal trouble since their shield of ignorance will not protect them due to the fact pattern from when they pitched to the public to now.
 

abacab

New Member
I hope they've had lawyers look at the liability issue, but I suspect they've been consulted no more than engineers / physicists were...

I suspect that they saw the TF and EEV vids and thought "they're just being sticks in the mud, we'll show them" - applying their skills of persuasion to themselves. Plus, money. To admit defeat at that point would have implied returning most of the money. "We're developing groundbreaking technology! Who are these science nerds to tell us we can't do it?". Looks to me an "in for a penny, in for a pound" kind of situation.

Sad, really.
 

Graham2001

Active Member
Here is ThunderF00t's video covering the most recent announcements from Fontus, there is quite a lot of "I told you so" in it, but there is some useful material along with questions about just what happened to the money raised. Plus it seems that some backers are now talking refunds.

 

abacab

New Member
Due to the magic of the Intarwebs, we can find out all kinds of interesting information. Such as Herr Rezezár is 65% owner of Fontus Water Technology GmbH and has sole signatory authority. They also have 3 employees.

http://www.firmenabc.at/fontus-water-technology-gmbh_MpCM

Looks like if there's any personal liability going (is that a thing in Austria?) it's mostly/all on him.

Oh, Kristof! You silly thing... On a human level I hope he gets out of this one relatively unscathed, having reimbursed most of the IGG money.
 
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