A team of scientists have now come up with a device that pulls fresh water out of thin air, even in places with humidity as low as 20 percent. All it needs is sunlight. Called the ‘solar-powered harvester’, the device was created by teams from MIT and the University of California, Berkeley, using a special type of material known as a metal-organic framework (MOF). It is only in the prototype phase right now and has been tested in pretty limited situations, but the results so far have just been published in Science.
Two-thirds of the world’s population is currently experiencing a shortage of clean water, but it’s estimated that there’s about 13,000 trillion litres of water worldwide present in the air all around us. So the discovery will become a major breakthrough in the long-standing challenge of harvesting water from the air at low humidity.
So far the prototype device has been tested under conditions of 20 to 30 percent humidity, and was able to pull 2.8 litres (3 quarts) of water from the air over a 12- hour period, using 1 kilogram of MOF. Successful tests have also been conducted on the rooftop at MIT, showing that it works in real-world conditions.
The team says that the device could easily be scaled up to provide a family with their freshwater needs for the day.
Image source: Wonderful Engineering