New tech harvests drinking water from (relatively) dry air using only sunlight | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

REAL SCIENCE. REAL NEWS.

Help us keep you informed.

Support Science News.


News

New tech harvests drinking water from (relatively) dry air using only sunlight

Prototype makes enough liquid for a person to survive in the desert

By
2:00pm, April 13, 2017
water from air prototype converter

WATER FROM AIR  This prototype device captures water from air. Then, when exposed to sunlight, the black-painted layer (top) heats up and releases captured moisture as vapor into a container. A condenser then cools the vapor, converting the water to liquid form.

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

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content