Researchers develop solar-powered device to harvest water in the desert

Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun

Solar panel 'harvester' sucks moisture from dry air

Scientists at MIT and the University of Berkeley have created a solar-powered water harvester that can use air humidity to produce drinking water.

"My vision for the future direction of this technology is to have water off-grid where you have a device at home running on ambient sunlight for delivering water that satisfies the needs of a household", says Omar Yaghi, a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley who led the new work with MIT's Evelyn Wang.

Investors looking for long-term safe returns might we wise to avoid putting resources into water-supply companies, because an invention just unveiled promises to free even desert-located households from the tyranny of pipelines. Imagine how it could transform the lives of people who have to survive in areas with virtually endless droughts. Keeping this in mind, the researchers at MIT have created a structure that can create clean, drinking water with the help of vapor present in the air. According to Digital Trends, Wang stated that they have built a device that can produce water from air. Reportedly this can draw three liters of water from the dry air with low humidity (20 to 30%) in just 12 hours. Thus, this material makes it possible to conserve massive amounts of gasses in some incredibly small receptacle.

On Tatooine, the desert planet from "Star Wars" that Luke Skywalker calls home, some people work as moisture farmers, collecting water from the desert air using moisture vaporators.

The MOFs were invented by Prof. By altering the composition of the framework, MOF's can be optimized to grab different kinds of compounds - anything from hydrogen and methane to petrochemicals.

It was in 2014 that Yaghi and the team at UC Berkley succefully syntheized a metal organic framework that was capable of binding water vapor through the combination of zirconium metal and adipic acid. The MOF would be a one-kilogram sheet of dust-sized MOD crystals pressed on copper. For each kilogram of spongelike absorber, it can produce almost 3 liters of water per day. On the other hand, water molecules stick to its interior surfaces, gathering in groups of eight to form tiny cubic droplets. This allows the device to absorb condensed water during the night and then use a series of porous crystals to evaporate it again during the day.

The MOF can harvest water from thin air from places with low humidity, as low as twenty percent. The lines in are organic linkers, and the intersections are multi-metallic units. They are the building blocks that Prof. Using the right material could increase the absorption rate by at least 40 percent while keeping costs down.

MOFs act as molecular sponges, capturing and storing specific particles of liquid or gas. It has turned out to be very efficient, able to work when humidity is as low as 20%. This drips into a collector and, presto, usable water from air. "What we'd like to do is incorporate multiple layers into the design that can then capture a lot more of the water locally, within this device", she says. "It is just a matter of further engineering now", says Yaghi about making the device's use more wide scale in future.

Professors Yaghi and Wang. The average humidity in the Sahara Desert is 25 percent, which means that the MIT solar cube can easily harvest water here. A person needs about a Coke can of water per day.

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