This Solar-Powered Device Pulls Water From Dry Air

Posted: Apr 14 2017, 5:09am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

This Solar-Powered Device Pulls Water From Dry Air
Water harvester built at MIT with MOFs from UC Berkeley. Using only sunlight, the harvester can pull liters of water from low-humidity air over a 12-hour period. Credit: MIT / Laboratory of Evelyn Wang
  • Solar-Powered Device Pulls Water from the Air

Scientists have managed to make a solar-powered device that pulls or rather sucks water from the air. This gadget could come in handy in isolated places such as the desert.

Imagine if you will a future time when each home has a device that is solar-powered and sucks the water out of the thin air. This would be an ideal situation in conditions of drought or in the landscape of a desert region.

Well, that future may not be so far off. A demonstration took place a few days ago regarding a water harvester that employs sunlight to pull many liters of water out of the air on a daily basis.

The humidity could be as low as 20% yet this device will work surely and steadily. This level of humidity is a common thing in extremely arid zones of the earth.

The harvester employs a special material known as a metal organic framework (MOF) which was manufactured at the University of California in Berkeley.

This invention is quite a revolutionary step in the right direction. Normally, harvesting pure water from thin air is an expensive procedure. Yet via this solar-powered harvester, the whole process has been rendered dirt cheap (so to say).

The prototypical model which has been made can work under conditions of 20% to 30% humidity. It sucks out some 2.8 liters of water from the air over a 12 hour period.

This operation ordinarily requires one kilogram of MOF to get accomplished in a satisfactory manner. Tests that took place at rooftops show that the device can be employed in the real world under real-life circumstances.

A future vision has such a device supplying all the water needs of a single household. It will be implanted on top of the house where it will be exposed to the sunlight.

This is truly the best form of personalized water that could be made in a jiffy using nothing but sunlight and air. Metal organic frameworks got invented some two decades ago.

They combine metals such as magnesium or aluminum with organic molecules. The device is able to store gaseous and liquid materials within its context.

The devices made from MOF are not restricted to water dispensers. They can include gadgets that collect other gases such as carbon dioxide too. The MOF which binds water vapor molecules has zirconium and adipic acid as a part of its structure.

Sunlight heats this MOF which drives the water towards the condenser. This condenses the water which then drips into a collector. Such harvesting of water could revolutionize the obtaining of pure water in the future times.

The details about this solar-powered harvester are reported in the journal Science.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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