The prototype, under conditions of 20 to 30 per cent humidity, was able to pull 2.8 litres - or almost five pints from the air over a 12-hour period, using one kilo or 2.2 pounds of MOF.
Yaghi, also a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the U.S. said, "There is no other way to do that right now, except by using extra energy".
Yaghi, a chemistry professor at University of California, Berkeley, envisions a future where the water is produced off-grid for individual homes and possibly farms using the device.
Though researchers at Berkeley and MIT have developed a way to extract clean water from thin air, it will take more research and development to bring the prodct to an inexpensive enough price that it can be economically distributed to countries around the world and aras where clean water is in short supply. The copper metal sheet is then placed between a solar absorber on top and a condenser plate on the bottom.
The water harvester uses zirconium and adipic acid, which binds water vapour. This device does so by pulling water vapor from the air with the help of sunlight. It turns out that one of those configurations can sift water vapor out of the air. And in 2014, Yaghi and his team synthesized MOF-801 having strong affinity for water molecules even under low-humidity conditions. The test was done at a rooftop, using one kilogram of Metal-Organic Framework (MOF), confirming that the device works in real-world conditions. For the existing prototype, the MOF can only absorb 20 percent of its weight in water, but this figure may be doubled on future MOFs, according to CNET.
Senior author Omar Yaghi demonstrates how the MOF works using a model.
They also want to tweak the material so that it is more effective at lower and higher humidity levels. Mechanical engineer Evelyn Wang of MIT and his students have worked hard on creating water harvester that runs on solar power. These devices have components which promise a class of synthetic porous materials also known as metal-organic frameworks and are composed of organic molecules attached along with the metal atoms, which Yaghi developed. That means homes in the driest parts of the world could soon have a solar-powered appliance capable of delivering all the water they need, offering relief to billions of people.
MOFs, which have been on the scene for more than two decades, are cagelike arrays of multimetallic units tied together with organic-chain linkers. "To me, that will be made possible because of this experiment". "The MOFs can now be further optimized so they can capture more water".
These devices work on a novel kind of material which could extract a large volume of water into its various number of pores. "I call it personalised water", he said. "It is just a matter of further engineering now", he said. This drips into a collector and, presto, usable water from air. Tests have shown that the system can condense at least 2.8 liters of water out of thin air per day if left running continuously.