Prototype makes enough liquid for a person to survive in the desert
Lab of Evelyn Wang/MIT
A new device the size of a coffee mug can generate drinkable water from desert air using nothing but sunlight.
With this kind of device, "you can harvest the equivalent of a Coke can’s worth of water in an hour,” says cocreator Omar Yaghi, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley. “That’s about how much water a person needs to survive in the desert.”
Though that may not sound like much, its designers say the current device is just a prototype. But the technology could be scaled up to supply fresh water to some of the most parched and remote regions of the globe, such as the Middle East and North Africa, they say.
Previous attempts at low-energy water collection struggled to function below 50 percent relative humidity (roughly the average afternoon humidity of Augusta, Ga.). Thanks to a special material, the new device pulled water from air with