Best of 2017 // #88: Water From Thin Air


Researchers have managed to create a new material that can pull drinkable water out of thin air, using zero power.  Using a mesh, which is a metal-organic framework, consists of tiny space to grab and hold water molecules.

/READ MORE// Water is Wierd

A mere couple of pounds of this mesh can draw almost a gallon of water from the air every day – even in conditions are arid as the desert.  The sun’s heat is all that is needed to pull the water out of the air and make it drinkable.  This makes it a very attractive option for developing regions that have little or no infrastructure.  Researchers have proposed using a similar system before, but most need either electricity or high humidity to work.

The engineering team behind the project hope that, with some further fine-tuning, they can harvest even more water.

“We wanted to demonstrate that if you are cut off somewhere in the desert, you could survive because of this device…A person needs about a [330ml] can of water per day. That is something one could collect in less than an hour with this system…This is a major breakthrough in the long-standing challenge of harvesting water from the air at low humidity.

“There is no other way to do that right now, except by using extra energy. Your electric dehumidifier at home ‘produces’ very expensive water.”

– Professor Omar Yaghi, Co Creator

The project was led by researchers at MIT and the University of California, Berkeley and the study appears in the journal Science in April

There’s more stories from 2017.  Check out the Best of 2017 series here

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