New solar-powered device can procure water from thin air

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US researchers have developed a solar-powered device which can convert low-humidity air into water.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California, Berkeley have designed a device that produces water from air using sunlight and MOFs (metal organic frameworks).

According to ABC News, the researchers tuned the chemical composition of an MOF to be hydrophilic, enabling it to absorb liquid and even water vapour in its powder form.

The new device has a thin layer of MOF powder placed between two surfaces, of which the top layer is black and absorbs solar heat and the lower surface remains at the same outside temperature. So when the powder absorbs water vapour, the top layer turns it to water and is collected on the cooler lower surface.

The invention can potentially help eople facing water problems in arid, drought-ridden areas. The tests show the possibility of collecting three litres of water per day using one kilogramme of the MOF.

Omar Yaghi, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley who co-authored the research 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.”

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