Starling crossed the Tabernas desert in Spain on his electric bicycle. He collected the water emitted by the motor and used it to paint an illustration of a cactus.
"The contrast between the supremely efficient cactus and the contrived efforts of man is both comic and insightful, highlighting the commercial exploitation of natural resources in the region," said a statement from Tate Britain art gallery.
Recumbent and electric bike specialist Ben Cooper of Kinetics, Glasgow, provided the motor, controller and battery, and got it all working together on a 25 inch Raleigh Winner bicycle supplied by Common Wheel.
"The fuel cell can put out over 1kw, but it takes a few seconds to fire up, so it can't respond instantly to the throttle. Instead, it's used to recharge a NiMH battery, which then drives the motor," said Cooper.
"That way you get instant acceleration, and the fuel cell can run more efficiently. Kind of like a hybrid car."
Starling was shortlisted for his exhibitions at The Modern Institute, Glasgow and the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona.
His other displayed works included a shed which he made into a boat, took on the water, and then made it back into a shed.