Distributed Water Harvesting from Air in Water-Stressed and Remote Areas using Metal-Organic Frameworks

Distributed Water Harvesting from Air in Water-Stressed and Remote Areas using Metal-Organic Frameworks
Mircea Dincă, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Evelyn Wang, Gail E. Kendall Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Period of performance: 

September 2017 to August 2019

Abstract: 

Access to clean water is one of the largest challenges that we face in the world today. While a substantial amount of water is available in the form of vapor in the atmosphere, current techniques such as dewing and fog capture are limited in relative humidity ranges and/or require large energy inputs. We propose to develop a water harvesting technology that will be well-suited for the production of water at the point of use, water-stressed and remote areas. Our approach harvests water from ambient air via adsorption with metal-organic framework (MOF) materials. During operation, the MOFs are exposed to ambient air, during which the water vapor is adsorbed. To harvest the adsorbed water from MOFs, low-grade heat releases the water for condensation and collection. In particular, we will leverage our development and ability to tailor novel, ultra-high water capacity MOFs. The high uptake capacity and sharp step in the adsorption isotherm promises a compact and efficient device. We aim to further develop these materials, as well as design and optimize a proof-of-concept water harvesting device. This work will be an important step towards the realization of MOF-based water harvesters to address the water scarcity problem worldwide.