More than a third of the world’s population exists in drylands, areas that experience substantial water deficits. Scientists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have formulated a solution that t could enable people in these areas to permit clean drinking water.
The team formulated a low-cost gel film with substantial materials that can snatch water from the atmosphere in even the aridest climates. The materials that promote this reaction cost a sheer $2 per kilogram. A single kilogram can manufacture more than 6 liters of water per day in regions with less than 15% relative humidity and 13 liters in regions with up to 30% relative humidity.
“This new work is about practical solutions that people can use to get water in the hottest, driest places on Earth,” announced Guihua Yu, professor of materials science and mechanical engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering. He added that “This could allow millions of people without consistent access to drinking water to have simple, water generating devices at home that they can easily operate.”
Additional attempts at dragging water from desert air are commonly energy-intensive, and they do not generate much. 6 liters does not sound like a lot. Still, the researchers explain that creating larger films or absorbent beds or arrays with optimization could significantly increase the amount of water they produce.
“This is not something you need an advanced degree to use,” announced Youhong “Nancy” Guo, the lead writer on the paper and a former doctoral student in Yu’s lab, presently a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s straightforward enough that anyone can make it at home if they have the materials.”