Duke Energy is among the investors in Source Global, which has created panels that generate clean drinking water from sunlight and water vapour.

Source Global, a US-based developer of renewable water generation technology, has raised $150m from investors including energy utility Duke Energy, CNBC reported yesterday.

Venture capital fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures, investment manager BlackRock and impact investment-focused private equity firm Lightsmith Group have also invested in the company.

Founded in 2015, Source Global has created hydropanels, which look similar to solar panels but which convert vapour and sunlight to clean drinking water rather than electricity.

The panels are powered by solar energy, with fans drawing in ambient air and passing it through a water-absorbing material to capture vapour which passively condenses into a reservoir where minerals are added to create drinking water.

The panels were invented by chief executive Cody Friesen, the Fulton engineering professor of innovation at the Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering. He had previously co-founded Fluidic Energy in 2007 to commercialise a rechargeable zinc-air battery, and it was subsequently rebranded to NantEnergy.

Friesen saw a need for the technology both in the US and overseas, he told CNBC. In India, an estimated 800,000 villages do not have access to clean drinking water, while in the US some 1.5 million miles of lead pipes remained in the ground, he added.

The panels, which cost $2,000 apiece, have so far been installed in 450 projects across 52 countries. In addition to the panels, Source Global also sells water generated and bottled locally.

The original version of this article appeared on our sister site, Global University Venturing. Image courtesy of Source Global, PBC.