Clean water is becoming increasingly scarce. Especially in the aridest regions of the planet. In areas previously considered quite prosperous, there is also a decrease in the level of its reserves. All this prompts scientists to think about the development of ways to extract drinking water. The company NUS conducted research and proposed its original way, which is notable for its affordability and simplicity.
The scientists propose to extract water from the air. A special aerogel was developed for this purpose. It is a complex porous structure made of polymer twisted into coils. Its other characteristic feature is an organometallic framework. Because of this, even relatively small linear size fragments have a very large surface area. Researchers have carefully studied the properties of the new material and found a way to use it.
It turned out that such a structure is ideal for the process of moisture extraction. It can simultaneously repel and attract water in a continuous mode. As a result, the aerogel effectively takes water molecules from the surrounding air. This is followed by condensation of the moisture, which is immediately expelled and can be collected in a reservoir. The process is completely autonomous and does not require any additional energy input. It was found experimentally that the process becomes more efficient when the sunlight improves.
The aerogel was tested for 1440 hours continuously. It was found that its efficiency reaches 95% – out of every kilogram of steam absorbed 950 ml becomes water. The laboratory examination of the water obtained leads to the conclusion that it satisfies the strictest drinking water requirements of the World Health Organization. In a day, only 1 kilogram of aerogel is enough to produce 17 liters of pure drinking water.
Commercial applications of this promising technology are expected in the near future.