Device pulls water from dry air, powered only by the sun
Apr 13, 2017 at 2:00pm
Robert Sanders, Media relations
Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun.
That future may be around the corner, with the demonstration this week of a water harvester that uses only ambient sunlight to pull liters of water out of the air each day in conditions as low as 20 percent humidity, a level common in arid areas.
The solar-powered harvester, reported in the journal Science, was constructed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology using a special material — a metal-organic framework, or MOF — produced at the University of California, Berkeley.
“This is a major breakthrough in the long-standing challenge of harvesting water from the air at low humidity,” said Omar Yaghi, one of two senior authors of the paper, who holds the James and Neeltje Tretter chair in chemistry at UC Berkeley and is a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “There is no other way to do that right now, except by using extra energy. Your electric dehumidifier at home ‘produces’ very expensive water.”