Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Water From Air

PostedAugust 20, 2017

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LEDE: A new solar-powered device might be able to get water from the air—almost any place on Earth.

Randy Atkins: Many developing countries lack access to clean water and can’t afford technologies like desalination.  Evelyn Wang, an engineer at MIT, is working on a device that uses metal ion clusters to pull water from the air…even in a hot, dry desert.

Evelyn Wang: It captures the water into this material, and once it’s captured we input solar energy and then it releases the water molecules into this device which then gets condensed into drinking water.

Randy Atkins: Wang says, in very dry conditions, the device only takes about a day to pull in and condense up to 4 gallons of water. It can be equipped with a filter and…

Evelyn Wang: You can power this by the sun and really not need much electricity.

Randy Atkins: Wang says this technology could have applications in drought-plagued areas of the U.S. as well. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.