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Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley have developed a prototype that can produce drinkable water out of dry air.
The device is enclosed in a box-like container, which contains a “metal-organic framework” (MOF) and a condenser plate. The sponge-like MOF absorbs water vapor, while the plate collects the condensed vapor.
The prototype runs on solar power and operates on a night-and-day cycle. The MOF absorbs water during nighttime because low temperatures and high humidity ease the process. During daytime, the water evaporates outside the MOF and then condenses on the side of the box-like container.
To test its effectiveness, the scientists placed the device in a desert in Scottsdale, Arizona, which has an intensely dry environment. The device was able to produce seven ounces of drinkable water after an entire night-and-day cycle. The scientists said that despite the low amount of water collected during the test, the prototype can be modified to improve its efficiency.
Currently, the scientists are in the process of developing a cheaper and more efficient version of the MOF. They are hopeful that the future commercialization of the device will be helpful for people living in dry climates.
Similarly, a start-up company called Zero Mass Water also produced a solar-powered equipment that pulls water out of air. Called Source, the device collects water vapor using an air filter. After passing through an airtight system, water vapor transforms into liquid form. The device is also capable of adding calcium and magnesium to the water. According to the company, Source can collect an average of four to 10 liters of water daily.