FOGHIVE© - 3D fog collectors
Global: Peru, Chile, Namibia, Spain, Greece, Yemen, China and others latitudes

Research-design team: Ecofab
Leader/author: Dr Cristian Suau
Main collaborators: Dr Mike Fedeski, Imke Höhler (Dropnet) & Marina Cella
EU Partner: Deutsche Institute Fur Textil- und Faserforschung Denkedorf (DE)
Clients: NGOs, environmental and public sectors
Publication: scientific journals, proceedings, online media
Type: design patent, fog collection, water harvesting, autonomous dwellings
Year: 2009 onwards
Budget: EUR45000 (prototypes)
Building systems: galvanised metal space-frame, galvanised connectors & special hydrophobic coatings/mesh
Landscape: dripping irrigation system, re-established native flora, farming & reforestation

The provision of drinking water turns out to be one of the great challenges for the future. Worldwide about one billion people have no access to the essential wet, because central water supply systems cannot technically and logistically be realized or the connection is uneconomic. On the other hand nature has been managing for thousands of years on its own as regards the safeguarding of the survival in dry regions – by the procurement of water from the humidity of the air with often amazing complementary mechanisms. Planet Earth needs to find out new ways to tackle climate into sustainable living by providing a more effective and holistic management of renewable energies like solar, wind and water supplies, particularly when it is reinforced by science-based innovations in the landscape, urban and domestic contexts. FogHive© is determined as much by climatic and geographic factors as by any alternative for appropriate technologies. Its main aim is stopping desertification by repairing endangered fog oases ecosystems, and harvesting water for drinking and irrigation and fostering potential inhabitation in self-sufficient polyhedral configurations along arid coasts of our planet like Peru, Chile, Namibia, Spain, Greece, Yemen, China and others latitudes. Due to intermittent winds, it also generates wind-based electricity. Therefore the main outcome is to incorporate zero-carbon design in sustainable landscape and architectural design and thus envision potential inhabitation through autonomous space-frame configurations along the arid coastlines.
In order to achieve the shape, frame and components of FogHive©, EcoFab took into account three main climatic factors: wind (direction and speed), humidity and temperature. Parametric design was used to test various solutions of water collection in different scales, from landscape to domestic.
FogHive© is a 3D experimental design prototype, which employs an agile and autonomous space-frame to trap atmospheric water in arid lands and then harvest water for drinking and irrigation. This prototype has been tested throughout climatic and structural design simulations in any coastal context such as the Atacama Desert (Tarapacá Region, Chile). In addition to this, this device is able to produce electricity through a central vertical turbine. To intersect water the frame is wrapped by hydrophobic fabrics that also performs as and shading system. This design patent upgrades the following aspects of fog collection:
1. Increasing rate and yield of advection fog by taking into account harvesting rate and climatic parameters
2. Structural reinforcement of fog collectors through lightweight, modular and deployable polygonal space-frames
3. Reducing installation and maintenance of fog collection (material research)
4. Purification of drinking water due to concentrations of pollutants
5. Lowering physical impacts on surrounding

FogHive© is a lightweight, polyvalent and modular space-frame, fully wrapped with a light hydrophobic mesh, which can collect water fog. It also performs like a shading/cooling device and a soil humidifier for greenery and potential inhabitation. Being a transformable construction, it can easily be installed on flatten or uneven grounds. Its footprint is hexagonal. Regarding the scale of intervention, FogHive© unit varies its dimensions. The landscape model has a 12m side; the local model a 9m side and the domestic model has a 6m side.
A. Territorial scale model: Fog oases
This is a large polyhedral telescopic fog catchers (hexagonal footprint, side equal to 12m) aligned in strategic sides of natural creeks or valleys, which will impede desertification in rural settlement or natural landscapes. Those devices bring micro-agriculture back and repair fragile ecosystems (native flora and fauna) by harvesting and distributing mainly crop water. The strategic allocation of fog collectors can not only bring local agriculture back and decrease rural emigration but also repair existing fragile ecosystems in several fog oases by harvesting and distributing mainly crop water.
B. Local scale model: Coastal settlements
This is a mid-size polyhedral standing alone fog catcher (hexagonal footprint, side equal 9m) to supply both water and electricity to small communities (sustainable micro-agriculture and rural electrification) in natural and urban environments. This space-frame fog collector can be allocated in Cerro Guanaco, a fog oasis nearby Alto Patache, a low-income sprawl. It can provide water and electricity to small communities through forestation, sustainable micro-agriculture and electrification.
C. Domestic scale model: Autonomous dwellings
This is an autonomous small polyhedral space-frame (hexagonal footprint, side equal 6m) manufactured with timber, galvanised steel or carbon fibre. This inhabitable unit is modular, deployable and lightweight, with an adjustable textile system that performs as a water-repellent skin when it faces South and SW winds and shading fabrics (mainly roof and North–NE-NW sides), plus blades plugged in the base frame. The water collector, filtering (purification) and irrigation network considers available materials and techniques.

Currently Deutsche Institute Fur Textil- und Faserforschung Denkedorf (DE) and ECOFAB (UK) are associated in a collaborative research proposal called 'FOWATIN: Water from Air Humidity: Future Water Supply by Textile Innovations', which is been evaluated by the DIRECTORATE GENERAL FOR RESEARCH & INNOVATION (EU) 'Theme 4 – NMP - Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies' (FP7-NMP-2011-SME-5 Stage 2).

The aim is the development of innovative textile based systems to gain water from humidity of the air (fog/dew) without further energy supply. Based on competent biological studies of high efficient mechanism in living nature the developments include materials, which are able to collect already condensed water drops (fog) and/or humidity by capillary condensation as well as cool themselves by special coatings. Therefore advanced textile fibres and surface structures and coating processes performed for a high condensation and coalescence with modifications on microscopic and macroscopic level will to be developed. In combination with the third dimension, the desired air permeability and the efficient aerosol separation is aimed. With confection methods the new systems will be supplied with the textile modules. Different applications are in the focus: Supply of water for larger settlement units and in agriculture dew producing roofs with shadowing effect for plants, which are growing beneath. The markets are in dry regions, especially in summer time in the Mediterranean area, which are suffering from water but also for humidity separation in industrial processes. The market for innovative technical textiles is expected in some million m²/year. Suffering from water will be reduced and new settlement will be possible. In industrial processes the recycling of water with reduced energy demand will be reached.

Design description 1 (scientific paper)
Design description 2 (scientific paper)
Design (initial phase)


fog formations in tarapaca atacama desert

fog formations in tarapaca atacama desert

creeks in tarapaca atacama desert

agglomeration of clouds atacama desert

the crepuscule  atacama desert

iquique: fog city atacama desert

the cliffs along the coast atacama desert


alto patache - fog oasis atacama desert


the flows of fog  

augmenting yield in fog collection  

preliminary climatic simulations  

foghive© - deployable system  

foghive©: structural frame & mesh  

material test of skins  

water harvesting for irrigation  

foghive© in alto patache, chile  

foghive© in cerro guanaco, chile  

foghive©: constructional section  


foghive© - modular system  

foghive© - hydrophobic mesh  

dropnet - peru  

dropnet - peru