Harvesting water from thin air

In the wake of NASA’s new report warning that potable water scarcity is the next human crisis, people will be looking to collect water from places previously thought useless to look, like deserts. No stranger to water shortages, researchers at the University of California have developed a way to coax water from Arizona’s arid air using a metal-oxide framework, or MOF, which is very porous. Using only available sunlight and air, two pounds (1 kg) of the zirconium-based mixture was able to gather seven ounces of water in 24 hours. Promising, but not good enough. So, the researchers created a new generation MOF out of aluminum. It harvests twice as much water over the course of a day than its predecessor and is also about 150x cheaper to make. Because of demand, several start-up On-trendpreneurs* are already planning to commercialize the technology.

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