For significant portions of the globe faced with water shortage problems, a beacon of hope may be on the way: the ability to easily turn hot air into drinking water.
For the past few years, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have focused on the moisture present in the air as a potential source of drinking water for drought-stressed populations. In new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they reached a significant breakthrough in their efforts to create drinkable water out of thin air: a molecularly engineered hydrogel that can create clean water using just the energy from sunlight.
The researchers were able to pull water out of the atmosphere and make it drinkable using solar energy, in conditions as low as 104 degrees, aligning with summer weather in Texas and other parts of the world. That means people in places with excess heat and minimal access to clean water could someday simply place a device outside, and it would make water for them, with no additional effort necessary.
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