Solar-Powered Harvester Device Can Suck Drinking Water out of Air

Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun

Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun

By using one kilo of the new MOF, the device is able to produce nearly three liters of water over a 12-hour period in places with only 20 to 30 percent air humidity. Imagine how it could transform the lives of people who have to survive in areas with virtually endless droughts. This condenses the water which then drips into a collector. It's "very expensive water", senior author Omar Yaghi of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said in a statement. During tests, the device managed to pull 2.8 litres of water from air, with humidity of 20 to 30%, in 12 hours using 1kg of MOF. As it is now, the device could be used as a personal water source in dry regions without water-producing infrastructure, Yaghi says, or the system could be scaled up to produce enough water for a whole community. There are other compounds that can suck water from the air, but Wang says it takes a significant amount of energy to get those materials to release their water.

A solar-powered water harvesting device, constructed with a metal organic framework.

The MOFs were invented by Prof.

They combine metals such as magnesium or aluminum with organic molecules.

Yaghi worked on the first MOF more than 20 years ago.

Some MOFs can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from flue gases, separate petrochemicals within processing plants, or catalyze the reactions of absorbed chemicals.

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The MOF used is a combination of zirconium and adipic acid, which binds water vapour.

The current prototype can only absorb about 20 per cent of its weight in water, but it is thought using other MOF types could boost this to more than double that.

Researchers tuned the chemical composition of a MOF to be hydrophilic, which in a powder form cannot only suck up liquid water but also absorb water vapour. On the other hand, water molecules stick to its interior surfaces, gathering in groups of eight to form tiny cubic droplets. Further, when sunlight enters via a window, heats up the MOF and start sending the bound water to the condenser. The lines in the models are organic linkers, and the intersections are metal ions. They are the building blocks that Prof. After running some tests, the team built and tested a proof-of-concept prototype with a 5 centimeter by 5 centimeter MOF layer and a solar powered condenser, which they tested on the roof of an MIT building. There have even been some MOFs that could hold hydrogen or methane, and one of these frameworks is now being tested by German chemical firm BASF in its natural gas-powered trucks, as tanks with MOFs can hold thrice the amount of methane that can normally be pumped into an empty tank. The MOF has a porous structure that makes it ideal for holding water, similar to a sponge.

Now the MOF can only absorb 20 percent of its weight in water but Yaghi and his team hope to double its efficiency in the future. Additionally, the materials can also be tweaked to be more effective at higher of lower humidity. MIT Technology has built a device that can produce water from the dry air. "It is just a matter of further engineering now", he said.

Professors Yaghi and Wang. By teaming up with Evelyn Wang, mechanical engineer at MIT, they were able to create a passive device that could continuously collect water.

There are many different types of MOFs, which involve slightly different materials and structures. Using designs borrowed from desert plants, the tower exploits temperature swings between day and night to capture water and funnel it to a tank.

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