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Home » Breakthrough in science

Could Novel Technology Improve Fog Harvesting?

Submitted by on April 27, 2011 – 12:05 amNo Comment

Envisage living in really arid, inhospitable neighbourhood & facing paucity of portable water? In the meantime, as you awaken at the crack of dawn you notice fog afloat – rather than walk for several kilometres to getting water from a remote water source, what if extraction of drinkable water can be done from low-hung cloud cover?

This is precisely what Massachusetts Inst. of Technology scientist S. Chhatre is endeavouring to make a reality with new-fangled work at improving ‘fog harvesting’ – the terminology used to get water from haze or mist by deploying massive frames manufactured from engineered matter.

The knack of fog harvesting is concurrently low as well as high technology. For catching the mist, member of staff have erected huge meshes on bamboo stick stands or metallic poles. Such a mechanism traps the mist while it’s floating via the mesh substance.

Chhatre confesses to the fact that the tarps aren’t catching a large amount of water – merely close to a ltr. trapped in a one by one meter net – though it definitely makes a notable difference in several regions of the third-world nations.

He adds that when one considers the Western consumers who would be chugging down two hundred litres water daily then for getting that much amount of water they would require gigantic surfaces for achieving it. What they are aiming here is to obtain drinkable water – water which is needed for survivals of those residing in such challenging areas which they need in smaller amounts.

The MIT scientist is working hard at improving the constituents used in making the fog net so that there would more water collection. The netting he works with is basically small metallic bars interwoven till they resemble chain-similar fences. The metal has a dual material coating – one attracting water whereas the other repelling it.

The objective is attracting the mist to these nets, however no sooner has it touched the surfaces, the scientist wants the water to be rolling down the nets as swiftly as possible and collecting in buckets. In case the water stays on the nets for more time, its evaporation would occur. A water-repellent compound that functions similar to non-stick surfaces of fry pan, helps the water in quickly trickling down the nets for being collected.

It is yet not clear how ably the materials deployed would be working in real-world scenarios as till date the scientist has merely conducted laboratory tests on such engineered net.

Chhatre isn’t the foremost individual to be working on such tech. A Canada-based non-profit group FogQuest has been doing installation of mist-trapping meshes in far-off desert locations for around a decade. Yet, there are merely around fifteen active projects created for fog-trapping worldwide.

This technology can really transform and even saves lives in desolated, harsh regions of precipitous deserts or areas where mist is actually the sole aqua source though would not be working in metropolises or also large town areas since mist collection is attainable in smaller amounts. This is the reason for the initiative not taking off in a huge way.

FogQuest which has done installations in nations such as Nepal, Yemen, Guatemala, Eritrea, Chile deploys low-priced, farming shade meshes for its mist collection.

Chhatre is a strong believer that his better technology material might be proving to be far more effectual in water collection from mist & would also be low-costing. The material aids in tuning movement of the drops so that max quantity of water collection is achievable.

If Chhatre does meet with success, fog harvesting might soon be widely used in regions of water paucity to provide clean drinkable water which is such a basic yet indispensable part of our existence.

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