Billions of people on Earth are experiencing problems related to a shortage of drinking water. A group of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, headed by Professor Omar Yagi, is working on creating a water-collecting installation that does not require additional energy and is capable of extracting water, like a cactus, even from the hot desert air.
There are many ways to extract water from the air, but they are all energy-intensive and involve the presence of replacement elements. Omar Yagi and his colleagues went the other way. The basis of the installation created by them is metalorganic or MOF (metal-organic frameworks), which has the property of absorbing first and then secreting water.
MOF is a powder of tiny crystals that, when the temperature is lowered, absorbs moisture from the air, and when increased, they “give” it back. Such temperature changes character for the desert. Last year, Professor Yaga’s team demonstrated this process in the laboratory and is now ready to resume experiments already in the field.
The water collecting unit itself is a box with walls of 60 cm, which are covered on both sides by a layer of MOF. At night, the temperature in the desert drops, humidity increases, and water from the air gets inside the MOF. In the morning with the beginning of the heat, the moisture is displaced from the powder, and it condenses on the walls of the box in the form of drops. Overnight scientists were able to assemble with 400 g MOF 85 grams of water.