A time when we can get water out of thin air is almost here. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, created a device that turns water vapor into drinking water. Moreover, it only uses solar energy to do it.
Additionally, this new design improves on how water is captured in low humidity. The device is designed to work even in conditions matching the Sahara Desert, while using very little power.
New Tech for Harvesting Water Out of Thin Air
In their device, MIT’s Evelyn Wang and her Berkeley colleague Omar Yaghi used a substance made of metals and mixed organic compounds. They call the substance a metal organic framework, or MOF.
Even in the driest climates, there are tons of water molecules in the air. The device works because MOF powders are effective in absorbing water vapor, even in these climates.
Once the MOF powder absorbs the maximum amount of water, the device uses solar energy to generate heat. It applies the heat to the system that releases the water. The scientists claim that the device needs only small amounts of energy.
“My vision is really to bring water to households off-grid.
“I don’t think we’re very far from it because of the fact that this device works.” ~ Omar Yaghi (Source)
What the Future Holds
The scientists published the details of their successful prototype tests in the journal Science. The team must still address issues such as cleanliness of the harvested water before an MOF-based water collector can move into commercial production.
This new solar-powered water harvesting technology may be a game-changer for countries suffering from water shortages and recurring drought. The scientists that designed the tissue box-sized device claim that it can harvest up to 2.8 liters or 3 quarts or water in one day at low humidity. That is plenty for one person to drink throughout the day.
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