Safe drinking water from humidity? This solar-powered prototype does just that, but it still needs a long way to be cheap and scalable to help billions of people without access to it.
(Photo : by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Donel(L), 13, takes water from a source to fill the plastic ponds, for irrigation, that are in the plantations in Godet, in the commune of Kenskoff, in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, on March 30, 2016. About 42 percent of Haitians do not have access to safe drinking water, according to the UN.
But then again, this solar-powered device is still in the prototype stage. Thus, things are still bound to change in the long run.
It is worth noting that the tech giant Google, along with other smaller start-ups, are behind the initial prototypes of the said device.
Safe Drinking Water from Air Humidity
As per the report by ScienceAlert, the prototype only needs solar photovoltaic cells to start harvesting safe drinkable water from the humidity of the air. That said, the device could work even in far-flung remote areas where power is still not widely available.
In addition, the initial prototypes that the team has tested are only as big as a square meter. As such, it turns out that the tech, which started its tests last year, could pull out 150 milliliters of water per hour, at least per square meter.
It is worth noting that the water found on Earth does not even hold up to 1 percent of the total mass of our home planet. This reality comes even as human beings need to drink water to survive.
Not to mention that proper hydration from drinking water further helps in the optimal mental performance of humans, as per a study published way back in 2018.
On top of that, a separate study last Aug. 25 showed that drinking water and a healthy heart are linked to each other, making hydration reminding apps essentially necessary.
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Solar Powered Prototype
Thankfully, there is now a device that works off-grid, solely using solar power, that could pull out water from the air alone.
However, it is to note that the team behind the prototype discovered that the device does not work in all varying locations. In fact, it could barely produce drinkable water in regions that have very low humidity from the air of up to below 30 percent.
On the other hand, tropical locations, such as nations in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia, are blessed to have excessive humidity in the air, which helps the prototype produce drinking water from it.
However, the research paper about the testing of the prototype, which was published at Nature.com, noted that it is still expensive to produce. It comes even despite it being cost-effective due to its solar power capabilities.
Nonetheless, the researchers from the Moonshot Factory of Google revealed that the device could be cheaper in the long run, noting that its parts are made from materials that we use daily.
On top of that, the Google researchers further argued that once the manufacturing of the device has reached a larger scale, it would become much cheaper than the prototype.
That said, the water harvesting device has the potential to provide drinking water to billions of people who still do not have access to it.
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Written by Teejay Boris
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