Billions of people on Earth are experiencing problems associated with a shortage of drinking water. A group of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, led by Professor Omar Yagi, is working to create a water capture plant that does not require additional energy and can extract water, like a cactus, even from the hot air of the desert.
There are many ways to extract water from the air, but all of them are energy intensive and require replaceable elements. Omar Yagi and his colleagues took a different path. The basis of the installation they created is an organometallic or MOF (metal-organic frameworks), which has the property of first absorbing and then releasing water.
MOF is a powder of tiny crystals that, when the temperature drops, absorb moisture from the air, and when the temperature rises, they "give" it back. Such temperature drops are typical for the desert. Last year, Professor Yagi's team demonstrated this process in the laboratory and is now ready to resume experiments in the field.
The water catcher itself is a box with 60 cm walls, which are coated on both sides with a layer of MOF. At night, the temperature in the desert drops, humidity increases, and water from the air enters the MOF. In the morning, when the heat begins, moisture is displaced from the powder, and it condenses on the walls of the box in the form of drops. During the night, scientists managed to collect 85 grams of water using 400 g of MOF.