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Sunday, September 03, 2017
he globe is filled with 75% of water but is the
water all consumable? No, it is majorly saline. This is no article on geography
or chemistry for the middle school readers. In this age of pollution, pure water and
sanitation has become a challenge for many round the globe.
Soon, whole world will extract water from the
air!!, No! This is no magic. Instead it is the magic wand of technology.
all know it is the basic need of life extracting the same, directly from the
air, filtering all sorts of pollutants, would be a boon for people.
Existing technologies in this sector today either consume high
electricity and/or require very high moisture content in the air from which, it
extracts water. The problem now seems to be traceable. Robust systems are developed that rely on readily available
energy from the sun that is solar energy; and such machines can even work with
utmost efficiency in arid regions.
Researchers are also behind systems which do not require
electricity at all. The team intends to overcome the sole issues of
the substance used to suck up moisture (for example, zeolites): aside from
needing high humidity, they give up the trapped water only when heated, which
Researchers have designed a systems around a class of porous crystals known
as the metal organic frameworks(MOFs). By using specific combination of metals
and organics, scientist select the chemical properties of each MOF. This
customizes its uses. 1g of MOF crystal is the size of a marshmallow cube and
has an internal surface area approximately equal to a football field (This is
the one of the latest forms of technology used).
In April this year, engineers reported on a new device
incorporating MOF-801 (made of zirconium fumarate) which has a high affinity towards
water. It pulls moisture from air into large pores and explicitly transports
the water into a collecting membrane in response to low-grade heat from natural
sunlight. The device can extract 2.8 litres of water daily for every kg of MOF
even at relative humidity levels as low as 21%. This can be of great use to
Western and Central India.
Taking thoughts on a
different note, a start-up called Zero Mass Water Dale, has begun selling a solar-based
MOF system that does not have to be plugged into an electricity supplying grid.
A solar panel gives energy that gulps air through a proprietary water-absorbing
material and powers condensation of the extracted vapour into liquid. A small
lithium-ion battery is also connected to the device when the heat from the sun
is not intense enough. A unit with one solar panel, can produce 2-5 litres of
liquid a day, which is stored in a 30-litre membrane that adds nutritious
metals like calcium to it. It also adds magnesium to the water. This is done for
the purpose of better taste and nutrition.
future of this technology should be cutting cost to make it more popular in the
market. Today, zirconium costs approximately $140-$150/kg.
The researchers have developed the system aiming to have
it working significantly and easily anywhere in the world. An installed system
with one solar panel sells in the U.S. for about $3,700. Over the past years,
systems have been installed in the parts of U.S. and several other countries—such
as Mexico, Jordan, Dubai and Lebanon, with funding from the U.S. Agency for
International Development, to donate water to refugees of Syria. The demand for
the same is projected to increase as far as the middle-east is concerned. It
can be said:
“When most people think
about solar, they think about electricity. In the near future, people will
think about water abundance.”