Magic Act: Making Drinking Water Appear From Air

Researchers develop a sunlight-powered device that extracts water from the sky.


With billions of people around the world facing famines and severe water shortages, it’s urgent that society come up with an efficient way to bring people in need clean water.

In fact, as climate change worsens, the World Economic Forum has cited lack of access to clean water as the No. 1 global risk today. Happily, a team of researchers has shown some promise finding a solution to the massive challenge with their sunlight-powered device that can extract water from desert skies, according to an article on The device, what the article calls a metal-organic framework comprised of porous material, essentially is able to pull large amounts of water into its pores. Each kilogram of material is able to trap several liters of water daily, the article said.

The material, which is able to bond with large numbers of particles because of its massive surface area, features pores that can be altered to allow flow or to capture different kinds of molecules, the article explained. Because the process is passive (the researchers liken it to a humidifier without requiring a water supply to operate) and doesn’t require any additional energy, it can operate in dry conditions, including many of the desert areas that are under siege by drought.

While the device and material aren’t quite ready for prime time, the MIT research laboratory, which is working on the project, said a viable product isn’t too far off in the distant future.

Hurry up MIT. Providing a stable, clean water source for millions couldn’t come at a better time.


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