One in ten people don’t have access to clean drinking water. Ensuring we all have enough water for our needs is simpler than we think, but we’re going to need to do more. And now, a new material might help us pull drinking water straight from the air.
Researchers at MIT and Berkeley have created a metal-organic framework, or MOF, made from zirconium and fumarate. Think of it as a very fine net that can catch any particle in the air, provided you knot it the right way. It turns out that one of those configurations can sift water vapor out of the air. Then, if you put it in the sun, that heats it up and forces it through a condenser, offering more than two liters of water a day from places with humidity as low as twenty percent. If you were wondering, deserts like the Mojave have a humidity level much higher than 20%.
Even better, this doesn’t require any electricity; just the sun; the components are cheap; and they believe with further research they can double the capacity. This is good news for places that need water desperately, and also for people looking to improve water systems. A future with more water seems closer than we might think, and that’s good news for everyone.