Sunday, 16 April 2017

This new solar-powered device can harvest water from dry air

In a first, scientists have developed a new device that can harvest water from air everyday by using ambient sunlight, even in dry or desert climates.
Constructed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, the solar-powered device can work in conditions as low as 20 per cent humidity.
Omar Yaghi, from the University of California, Berkeley said, "This is a major breakthrough in the long-standing challenge of harvesting water from the air at low humidity".
Yaghi, also a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US said, "There is no other way to do that right now, except by using extra energy. Your electric dehumidifier at home 'produces' very expensive water".
The prototype, under conditions of 20-30 per cent humidity, was able to pull 2.8 litres of water from the air over a 12-hour period, using one kilogramme of a metal-organic framework (MOF) - a special material produced at UC Berkeley.
Rooftop tests at MIT confirmed that the device works in real-world conditions, researchers said.
Yaghi said, "One vision for the future is to have water off-grid, where you have a device at home running on ambient solar for delivering water that satisfies the needs of a household".
He said, "To me, that will be made possible because of this experiment. I call it personalised water."
The new system consisted of dust-sized MOF crystals compressed between a solar absorber and a condenser plate, placed inside a chamber open to the air.
As ambient air diffuses through the porous MOF, water molecules preferentially attach to the interior surfaces.
Sunlight entering through a window heats up the MOF and drives the bound water toward the condenser, which is at the temperature of the outside air. The vapour condenses as liquid water and drips into a collector.
Evelyn Wang, a mechanical engineer at MIT said, "This work offers a new way to harvest water from air that does not require high relative humidity conditions and is much more energy efficient than other existing technologies."


  1. And actually accumulating any viable amounts of water would take months. I believe there was another project similar to this and Thunderfoot on youtube blew them out of the water with how pointless an invention like this is. Sure.. it works. But if it takes you a month to gather 12oz of water... is it worth it?

    1. Derek, did you READ TF Article? It says right in there that they pulled 2.8l in 12 hours with 20-30% humidity with a Kilo of the MOF. Nice trolling, though.

  2. This is not new, there is a device called a Waterseer: cost $250.00. It will be ready by the end of summer.

  3. They have been producing clean water from sea water by forcing same through carbon filters, but the energy requirements to create the pressure to force the water through said filters is high.

    The easy solution would be to create a concrete Buckyball with the filters set in the sides, then sink it to a depth that naturally supplies the pressure, then pump the clean water out. About 2000' would do it, we pump frpm deeper than that in the mid-west.