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Arizona engineer, inventor wins $500,000 prize for water-air tech

(Zero Mass Water Photo)

PHOENIX – An Arizona engineer and inventor has won $500,000 for his Scottsdale-based startup, Zero Mass Water, it was announced this week.

Cody Friesen, an associate professor at Arizona State University, was awarded the Lemelson-MIT prize money Wednesday for his renewable energy technology.

His company’s hydropanel is supplying clean drinking water to 33 countries on six continents.

Friesen is the first winner from ASU, where he also graduated with a degree in materials science and engineering.

“As inventors, we have a responsibility to ensure our technology serves all of humanity, not simply the elite,” Friesen said in an online post.

The Source rooftop hydropanel doesn’t need electricity or piped water to operate – only sunlight and air. The panel pulls moisture out of the air, collects and processes it in a built-in reservoir and then sends it to taps.

The panels have been used in refugee camps in Lebanon and a hurricane-impacted fire station in Puerto Rico, according to Lemelson-MIT.

“Cody Friesen embodies what it means to be an impact inventor,” Carol Dahl, executive director at the Lemelson Foundation, said in a statement.

“His inventions are truly improving lives, take into account environmental considerations and have become the basis for companies that impact millions of people around the world each year.”

He planned to donate the money to nonprofit Conservation International.

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