Solar-powered Water Harvester that pulls Drinking Water out of the Thin Air

water harvester

From a distance, up and up into space, our planet is blue in color. This color comes from all the water on the Earth’s surface; 75% of our planet’s surface is covered with water. Ironically, most of that water is not suitable as drinking water, especially for humans and most land animals and plants that rely on fresh, clean water for life.

The crime reality is that drinking water is quickly becoming rare, and even more so with the increasing speed of desertification. All thanks to global warming; places that historically receive plenty of reliable rainfall, now get either less rainfall and when they do, they get too much rain that it ends up destroying crops in the fields and damaging people’s dwellings.

Well, a group of researchers has come up with a miniature water harvester that can pull water right out of thin air. The device works even in areas of low humidity; as lows as 20%. Professor Omar Yaghi, a chemist at the University of California and one of the researchers who came up with this prototype water harvester, said:

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.”

Not only could this water harvester be critical to people stranded in the desert, but also it could find major use if people’s day-to-day life. It can enable people living without piped water connection, access to clean drinking water.

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. To me, that will be made possible because of this experiment. I call it personalized water,” said Prof. Yaghi.

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