For thousands of years, people in the Middle East and South America have extracted water from the air to help sustain their populations. Drawing inspiration from those examples, researchers are now developing a lightweight, battery-powered freshwater harvester that could someday take as much as 10 gallons per hour from the air, even in arid locations.
They say their nanofiber-based method could help address modern water shortages due to climate change, industrial pollution, droughts and groundwater depletion.
“I was visiting China, which has a freshwater scarcity problem. There’s investment in wastewater treatment, but I thought that effort alone was inadequate,” Shing-Chung (Josh) Wong, Ph.D., says. Instead of relying on treated wastewater, Wong thought it might be more prudent to develop a new type of water harvester that could take advantage of the abundant water particles in the atmosphere.
Harvesting water from the air has a long history. Thousands of years ago, the Incas of the Andean region collected dew and channeled it into cisterns. More recently, some research groups have been developing massive mist and fog catchers in the Andean mountains and in Africa.
To miniaturize water generation and improve the efficiency, Wong and his students at the University of Akron turned to electrospun polymers, a material they had already worked with for more than a decade. Electrospinning uses electrical forces to produce polymer fibers ranging from tens of nanometers up to 1 micrometer — an ideal size to condense and squeeze water droplets out of the air. These nanoscale fiber polymers offer an incredibly high surface-area-to-volume ratio, much larger than that provided by the typical structures and membranes used in water distillers.
By experimenting with different combinations of polymers that were hydrophilic — which attracts water — and hydrophobic — which discharges water, the group concluded that a water harvesting system could indeed be fabricated using nanofiber technology. Wong’s group determined that their polymer membrane could harvest 744 mg/cm2/h, which is 91 percent higher than similarly designed membranes without these nanofibers.
Unlike existing methods, Wong’s harvester could work in arid desert environments because of the membrane’s high surface-area-to-volume ratio. It also would have a minimal energy requirement. “We could confidently say that, with recent advances in lithium-ion batteries, we could eventually develop a smaller, backpack-sized device,” he says.
What’s more, Wong’s nanofiber design simultaneously grabs water and filters it. The electrospun fiber network can act as an anti-fouling surface, sloughing off microbes that could collect on the harvester’s surface. So the water would be “clear and free of pollutants” and immediately drinkable once it’s collected, he says.
Next, Wong hopes to obtain additional funding to build a prototype of the freshwater harvester. He anticipates that, once his team is able to produce the prototype, it should be inexpensive to manufacture.
This research was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society
The Latest on: Water harvester
via Google News
The Latest on: Water harvester
- McGee Construction wood harvester destroyed in Farmingdale fire on February 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm
Firefighters had to trudge through the snow to locate the fire, as the McGee Construction-owned harvester did not use a road to access the lot. Even if the fire was located in time, firefighters were ... […]
- Local School Is a Model for Energy and Water in Rapa Nui on February 22, 2019 at 9:42 am
from which water is channelled to six ponds to treat it and make it potable. Meanwhile, the Toki Foundation’s rainwater harvesting system began to be replicated in some houses on the island, and the m... […]
- Impose Rs 5L fine on schools, colleges with non-functional rain water harvesting units: NGT panel on February 21, 2019 at 4:06 pm
New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) A Committee headed by a former high court judge has suggested to the National Green Tribunal that Rs 5 lakh fine be imposed on schools and colleges where rain water harvesting ... […]
- EACC probes purchase of hyacinth harvester on February 20, 2019 at 4:00 pm
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the procurement of a Sh76 million water hyacinth harvester. The machine, procured by Lake Victoria Environment Management Project and funded ... […]
- Lafayette Aquatic Weed Surface Water Management Website Launched on February 16, 2019 at 12:32 pm
Lafayette, CA surface water aquatic weed harvesting company AquaticWeed Harvesting announced the launch of its new website. The website showcases the company's waterweed removal and processing ... […]
- Rainwater Harvesting Market Business Extensions, Directions And Developing Strategies From 2019-2028 on February 15, 2019 at 3:09 am
Feb 15, 2019 (WiredRelease via COMTEX) -- Rainwater harvesting is the process of accumulating and storing of flowing rainwater. The collected water can be stored in tanks or natural reservoirs, or sub... […]
- In a slippery heist, 30,000 liters of iceberg water vanish from a warehouse on the Atlantic coast on February 15, 2019 at 2:56 am
Since 1997, he has extracted about 20 million liters of water, he told PBS. Harvesting the bergs requires a permit, along with “massive nets, a giant, ship-mounted hydraulic arm and, sometimes, a rifl... […]
- Drink salty water or go thirsty – Climate change hits Tanzanian school children on February 13, 2019 at 8:04 pm
All that has changed after UN Environment and partners supported a project to construct a rainwater harvesting system, involving rooftop guttering and a series of large tanks for storing water ... […]
- Global Rainwater Harvesting Market Report 2019: Government Policies and Mandates for Industrial and Commercial End-Users to Adopt Rainwater Harvesting on February 13, 2019 at 2:45 am
The rainwater harvesting market registered market value of US$ 1.35 Bn in 2017 and estimated to grow with a CAGR of 5.9% during the forecast period from 2018 to 2026. Water crises across the globe ... […]
- In Search Of A Solution For Water Scarcity In The Caribbean on February 12, 2019 at 4:41 pm
Harding, in his post as the first CEO of the Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator, facilitated the implementation of a water harvesting technology that has effectively taken a Jamaican children’s hospi... […]
via Bing News