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Some parts of the world still lack access to safe water, but a new device made by a team from the University of California, Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology might soon change that.
INNOVATION | Science

Turning desert air to water: How this device does it


Thursday, April 27, 2017, 3:35 - Some parts of the world still lack access to safe water, but a new device made by a team from the University of California, Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology might soon change that.

The machine consists of metal-organic framework, or MOF crystals pressed into a thin sheet and placed in a chamber between a solar absorber and a condenser plate, Science Magazine reported.

MOFs are a combination of organic and inorganic materials in a tightly packed matrix. Specific uses depend on the type of combination used. While some MOFs absorb gas, this particular one excels at absorbing water.


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The chamber is left open at night, allowing air to diffuse through the porous crystals, and water to attach to its interior surface. 

During the day, sunlight heats up the water molecules in the MOF, turning them into vapor that then condenses and is collected below.

When tested under the same conditions as arid and desert areas, the prototype managed to pull 2.8 liters of water over a 12-hour period. 

The device is a significant first step, but still holds much room for improvement. For now, the team is working on making it better, particularly in terms of efficiency and output.

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