Photo of Domenica Garzón

Energy & sustainability

Domenica Garzón

Democratizes drinking water by obtaining it from the humidity in the air to supply the neediest communities.

Year Honored


Latin America

Hails From

Since 2010, water has been a human right. This legal reality does not translate into the real world because more than 2 billion people do not have access to drinking water and basic sanitation, according to the United Nations. A violation that occurs more in developing countries. Moreover, the poor, without access to running water, pay more for this basic element of life than those who have a tap at home. This situation may worsen with the climate crisis due to the increase in droughts and torrential rains, which disproportionately affect the inhabitants of low-income countries. 

Theoretical physicist Domenica Garzón discovered with the 2016 earthquake in Ecuador that the water cuts caused by the shaking were worse than the first effects of the quake. She adds, "Water is a vital resource and it became practically gold." From the need to alleviate this problem arises Water-Y, a start-up born from university research created to democratize access to water thanks to the condensation of the humidity present in the air. For this initiative, Garzón has been chosen by MIT Technology Review in Spanish as one of the winners of Innovators under 35 Latin America 2022. 

The results of Garzón's research are two coatings applied to a copper surface that help water vapor in the air pass to the liquid state. Condensation has always had efficiency problems and the young woman has managed to magnify it with her innovative technique. The Ecuadorian explains, "To achieve the phase change, a lower temperature is needed, as it happens when taking a drink out of the refrigerator. The coatings increase in optimal conditions the amount of water" that the same surface of the air obtains without that envelope. This is a way of obtaining the liquid without the environmental impact and with less infrastructure than other options such as desalination or bottling. 

Finally, Garzón seeks to make it easier for communities with a water deficit to obtain water after patenting the discoveries made in the laboratory. With the help of suppliers, she hopes her condensers will bring her breakthroughs to real life. Water-Y is the "way to create an impact on society through science and collaborative work. We must invest in the training of young scientists because they are the ones who really manage to improve the lives of human beings," concludes the physicist.