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The Silicon Review Asia

A Metal Organic Framework Collects Water from the Desert Air

A Metal Organic Framework Collects Water from the Desert Air

Fresh and clean water is still a distant dream for many! You are lucky if water is just a tap away from you.  But it is unfortunately not the same in every corner of world. To handle the water shortage issue in many desert areas, Omar Yaghi, a professor and a chemist has developed a method to collect water from the dry air. His team has designed a water harvesting apparatus that doesn’t require any power which is contrary to other such devices which operates on power.

His secret is a material, a Metal Organic Framework (MOF) that absorbs and releases water. It is a powder made of tiny crystals, in which water molecules get trapped as temperature decreases. The deserts witness temperature fluctuation from day to night and that variation of the temperature is the key factor for the device to work.

The team has designed a box, about two feet per side layered by MOF on the top that is exposed to air. As the temperature drops during night time, the humidity rises and water is trapped in the MOF. And in the morning, the water gets condensed and is extracted back.

Though device is now in its nascent stage of development and is capable of collecting only few sips of clean water, Yaghi is working to bring it on a giant and commercial scale. More tests, with mechanical improvement and new MOF, are planned to be conducted during scorching summer.

With this invention, we hope that inhabitants of deserts won’t struggle for drinking water anymore!


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