Scientists find way to harvest water from air with solar energy

12 Feb, 2024
Image: Wang Ruzhu/

In a world where over 2 billion people are struggling with water scarcity, scientists have come up with a ray of hope, literally using sunlight!Researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China have developed a groundbreaking technology that uses solar power to extract water from the air.

Interestingly, many of these water-stressed regions also enjoy abundant sunlight, making solar-powered solutions particularly appealing.The Chinese researchers’ invention revolves around a unique material called a “super hygroscopic gel.”

This gel is created using plant-based components and special salts that are extremely good at absorbing moisture from the air. What’s impressive about this gel is its ability to hold a massive amount of water.

A single kilogram of this dry gel can soak up to 1.18 kilograms of water in dry conditions and a whopping 6.4 kilograms in more humid environments.

This technology is a significant step up from previous attempts, which often struggled with issues like salt leakage and reduced water absorption when salt was added to hydrogels.

Source: Applied Physics Reviews

Image: Wang Ruzhu/

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