Water from Air, using plant tech

  • 27.11.2022
  • Tech Xplore

Researchers from Xianming "Simon" Dai's lab at the University of Texas at Dallas are developing technology that can pull water from the air. They recently published a paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesshowcasing a more efficient way of harvesting water that takes inspiration from a carnivorous plant.

Dai is interested in decentralized water distribution: providing people with the water they need without the use of city-regulated water treatment plants and reservoirs. He has been studying water harvesting for the past 10 years, hoping to improve access to clean water by harnessing a natural process called condensation.

When you take a cold glass of water outside on a hot day, tiny water droplets can form on the rim of the glass. The warm water vapor in the air is drawn to the cold glass and cools down, or condenses, into those droplets.

Dai and his lab aimed to harvest water using a similar approach. If they could keep a surface cool, drawing warm water vapor to it, they could condense the water into droplets and collect it.