News Worms
News Worms

This Gadget Uses the Sun to Pull Water Out of Thin Air

This Gadget Uses the Sun to Pull Water Out of Thin Air

Senior author of the paper, Omar Yaghi said that this is a great invention to overcome the long-term problem, to draw water from the dry air.

The technology is a long way from being ready for commercial use, but the team behind it says this breakthrough has laid the groundwork for a device that could deliver potable water to many parts of the world. After all, dehumidifiers make sure that a room or home does not easily grow mold by sucking out the moisture from the air, and at the end of the day, you will have to pour all of the water away somewhere else.

With further development, this prototype could lead to technology that harvests significant amounts of water at any level of humidity, anywhere in the world. The new system is composed of dust-sized MOF particles which are compressed between a solar absorber and a condenser plate, which is placed inside a chamber which is left open to the air. The MOF used in the water harvester was designed by Yaghi and his team from UC Berkley in 2014, by combining the metal zirconium and adipic acid. This device does so by pulling water vapor from the air with the help of sunlight. The water vapor condenses as liquid water, dripping into a collector.

There are now more than 20,000 different types of MOF in use or in development around the world, but Yaghi's latest, developed with Evelyn Wang, a mechanical engineer at MIT, is the only one to target water. The current MOF can absorb only 20 percent of its weight in water, but other MOF materials could possibly absorb 40 percent or more.

This was achieved in a span of 12 hours and by using 2.2 pounds of MOF, with the machine running continuously. If you were wondering, deserts like the Mojave have a humidity level much higher than 20%. By teaming up with Evelyn Wang, mechanical engineer at MIT, they were able to create a passive device that could continuously collect water.

The system is based on highly porous materials known as metal-organic framework, which were invented by Yaghi.

So not only could people in desert regions have drinking water, but farmers in deserts could have much-needed water for crops and livestock. The lines in the models are organic linkers, and the intersections are metal ions. Powders made from MOFs are very porous, so researchers have proposed using them to store hydrogen or methane fuels or to capture carbon dioxide. The setup sucked up.24 liters of water per kilogram of MOF after 70 minutes, which is around a cup of water.

But their ability to serve as water harvesters is a relatively new concept, Wang said.

In an article published in the journal Science, Robert Service wrote that there are approximately 13 trillion liters of water floating around in the atmosphere at any one time.

How the device works.

"It has been a longstanding dream" to harvest water from desert air, says Mercouri Kanatzidis, a chemist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who wasn't involved with the work. "It is just a matter of further engineering now".

It's not that hard to collect condensation in a humid climate, but squeezing H20 from arid, thin air is another story.

Images of the device's condenser over time (on the right, running from top to bottom) show a steady increase in water droplets through the day.

The work on MOFs in Yaghi's laboratory is supported by BASF and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


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