Researchers of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Guwahati develop technology to harvest Water from Air

Researchers of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Guwahati develop technology to harvest Water from Air

Scientists at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati developed a new technology to yield water from the air by using the concept of hydrophobicity.

This water-harvesting techniques use the concept of hydrophobicity or water-repelling nature of some materials. The concept of hydrophobicity can be understood by the example of a lotus leaf. The water repellent property of the lotus leaf is attributed to the layer of trapped air between the leaf surface and the water droplet, which causes the droplet to slide off the leaf surface.

The concept of the lotus leaf has used the concept of chemically patterned SLIPS for the first time, to effectively harvest water from moist air. By spraying a sponge-like porous polymeric material on top of a simple A4 printer paper, a patterned hydrophilic SLIP was produced. These chemically modulated hydrophilic spots are also lubricated with two distinct types of oils. This surface could accumulate water from foggy/water vapour laden air without using any cooling arrangement.

The results of the water-harvesting technique, developed by the team led by Uttam Manna of IIT-G’s Chemistry Department and the Centre of Nanotechnology, was published in the journal of The Royal Society of Chemistry.

With increasing water scarcity throughout the world, there have been attempts to collect and conserve water through non-traditional means and the IIT-Guwahati scientists have turned to nature to design ways of water harvesting. More than 50 per cent of India's population has no access to safe drinking water and about 200,000 people die every year due to lack of access to safe water, the inexpensive method for harvesting water from water vapors or fog droplets in air can potentially alleviate the water scarcity issues in the country.