New Device Collects Clean Water from Fog | AIChE

New Device Collects Clean Water from Fog


The sky could provide a solution to mitigate water scarcity, according to a new study from ETH Zürich. Its scientists have unveiled an innovative, energy-neutral system capable of collecting clean water from the atmosphere. Using a net made from specially coated metal mesh, the device captures water from fog while simultaneously purifying it.

“When we talk about climate change, a very pressing problem today is water scarcity,” says study coauthor Thomas Schutzius of the Univ. of California, Berkeley, who formerly held a position at ETH Zürich. “In any given month, we take more water out of the ground than we put back in. It’s to the point where people are starting to look at alternative sources.”

One such alternative that is gaining traction is atmospheric water harvesting. In contrast to conventional water sources such as lakes, rivers, and groundwater, atmospheric water harvesting collects freshwater by capturing moisture from the air, including rain, fog, dew, and vapor...

Among these sources, fog harvesting stands out as a particularly promising approach. In foggy regions across Peru, Bolivia, and Morocco, it is common practice to hang up nets to catch droplets of water. Extensive research has been dedicated to the optimal geometry of these nets, resulting in devices capable of harvesting substantial quantities of water. For instance, a 1-m2 mesh can yield up to 70 L of water daily, while large-scale installations, such as a 5,000-m2 mesh, have the potential to collect up to 100,000 L of...

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