New technology could use a virtually limitless supply of fresh water

(ORDO NEWS) — There is a shortage of fresh water on planet Earth, and this problem is only expected to get worse in the coming years.

To meet the growing demand, recycling and limiting the use of water will only help us so far. Scientists will need to find new sources of this life-sustaining fluid to meet our needs.

One currently untapped source is water vapor over the oceans, which is virtually limitless. A new study shows how steam collection structures can be used to turn that steam into potable water.

“Ultimately, we will need to find a way to increase the supply of fresh water in the form of conservation and recycled water from existing sources.

Although necessary, will not be enough to meet human needs, says civil engineer and environmentalist Praveen Kumar of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. scale.”

New technology could use a virtually limitless supply of fresh water
An illustration of what a system for extracting water vapor from the ocean might look like

Measuring about 210 meters (689 feet) wide and 100 meters (328 feet) high – about the height of a large cruise ship – the proposed design mimics the natural water cycle in that it transports, condenses and collects water.

Humid air will be transported directly above the ocean surface to the nearest shore where cooling systems are installed, can condense water vapor into a liquid.

The whole thing will be powered by renewable wind or solar power, the team said.

Although the researchers did not provide details of their project, they did calculate the amount of recoverable moisture at 14 study sites, worldwide.

Just one of these installations could potentially meet the average daily drinking water needs of about 500,000 people.

This could be a huge addition to the desalination plants already in operation in many places around the world to remove dissolved salts from water. sea ​​water.

“This hasn’t been done before, and I think it’s because researchers are so focused on ground solutions, but our study shows that other options do exist,” says Atmosfer. scientist Francine Dominguez of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Fresh water, needed for drinking, bathing and irrigation, is only 3 percent of the world’s water, most of which is too polluted, or inaccessible for convenient use.

While we have seen some promising projects that could expand our access to fresh water sources, we are still waiting for technology that can really make a difference at scale.

Lack of safe drinking water often hits the world’s poorest people – the hardest, with a domino effect that extends to health, safety and income.

Something like the system proposed here could make a huge difference without harming ecosystems or the environment.

As part of their study, the researchers also looked at the potential impacts of climate change and the transformation of drylands into drylands, but they concluded that their system will still be resilient even as the world warms.

“Climate projections show that the flow of ocean vapor will only increase over time, providing even more fresh water,” says Rahman. “So, the idea we propose will be feasible in the face of climate change.”

“This provides a much needed and effective approach to climate change adaptation, especially for vulnerable populations living in arid and semi-arid regions. peace.”

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