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Yaghi’s water harvester: Water creation

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Since the beginning of time, we have always known and seen how constant water seems to be in our lives. Our taps and wells and streams and so on are mediums by which we get it for our use.  Then there are those places where it is very hard for people to get good clean water to drink or bathe. This was and is aided by the advent of generous men and women and groups who think that some shouldn’t lack what others have in abundance. But the question this article wants to ask is: what if there is something better– something that could solve this puzzle of its availability. What if that thing is here now?

It is all over the news houses and papers, it is obvious how much of a problem this recently developed solar tech would solve. Imagine the people said to be consuming water carrying Arsenic in Bangladesh. On 20th March, 2017, Independent carried an article of the UN warning the world about how fresh water is not infinite and how we should stop wasting water.

The Importance of the “Water Harvester”

Using the power of the sun, a recently invented machine can make up to 2.8 liters of water every twelve hours. A remarkable feat made more extraordinary by the fact that this will be made in a “something out of nothing” style.

Aside this, it can work in very dry areas, in areas where the humidity is far down and confirmed to be as low as twenty percent (20%).

The chemist, Professor Omar Yaghi and his crew of researchers from the University of California found some sort of crystalline powders called MOFs or Metal Organic Frameworks. Mr. Yaghi said that they wanted to achieve the point where the device could save lives. He said: “we wanted to show the world that if you are stranded in say a desert or a very isolated place where hostility is to be expected, one could get water with this device.”

The main help this new invention would offer to the world is its very flexible and efficient way of bringing  clean water to people in less humid areas. A person, according to an article on it in Independent, needs about 330ml of water daily. This amount of water can be acquired with the help of the solar Water harvester in less or about an hour.

The Research  Journey

To achieve this, Professor Yaghi studied a group of crystalline powders called MOFs. Mr. Yaghi developed the first MFOs or metal organic frameworks which are crystals containing pores and forms a continuous 3D networks about twenty years ago.

By picking dissimilar metals and organics, chemist acquired the ability to input the properties of these different MOFs, thereby taking control and observing what gases bind to them and how strong the bond is.

For a long time, chemists and researchers have toyed with synthesizing MOFs. More the twenty thousand Metal Organic Frameworks has been synthesized and each with its peculiar molecule seizing properties. To prove the fact about different MOFs with different properties and capabilities (i.e. molecules they absorb), Professor Yaghi and some others recently developed a MOF which absorbed and then, later, gave off methane. This made it a kind of gas tank for vehicles and machines which are powered by natural gas.

What we call the Water Harvester today was discovered in 2014. Professor Yaghi and his fellow researchers synthesized a MOF which was exceptional in absorbing water. After this, he met with Evelyn Wang who is a mechanical engineer in MIT, Cambridge, and they both fused MOFs in automobile ACs and later made the water harvester. A mechanical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge a mechanical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge Top of Form and Bottom of Form

How it Works

If asked to simply explain how the solar water harvester works, it is easier to say that it pull in water by night which is later heated by sun and cooled by a cooling component built in the machine.

But in details this is how it really works: the machine is a device which carries just one kilogram of MOF crystals in dust sizes which is pressed into a thin copper sheet with pores. The sheet is then placed between a solar power absorber and a condenser plate in the inner part of the system.

At night the chamber is left open to allow air from the surrounding to go through the pores of the MOF. This movement works in a way which makes molecules of water from the air stick to the interior part of the device. After a while there will be small droplets of water gathering. In the morning, with the aid of sunlight positioned on top of the machine, the MOF gets heated and this in turn liberates the water droplets and pushes the molecules as vapor toward a cooler condenser in the device. The high humidity in the device, coupled with the difference in temperature turns the vapor into liquid which the flows in drops to the water container.

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