MindBullets 20 Years

Water is no longer the new oil

Water in plentiful supply as 'Star Wars' tech makes it out of fresh air

The first Star Wars movie featured Vaporators on the planet Tatooine for water farming from the atmosphere. Now they are available on Earth, although they look slightly different in real life.

It’s been known for many decades that condensing water vapor from the air holds the key to water supplies in arid, inland areas; but getting that water from dry rather than humid air was the challenge.

By the same token, desalination has offered a solution for coastal cities, but only at substantial energy cost. Now new nanotech has come to the rescue, providing cheap ways to separate salt from water, and also to farm water from relatively dry air.

The trick for low-energy desalination is the development of an ultra-strong graphene membrane that can withstand high pressure; water molecules pass through quite rapidly, but salt molecules are just too large, and get discarded as waste.

Squeezing water vapor from dry air was an even bigger challenge, solved with a unique metal organic matrix nano-structure that pulls water molecules together, letting them condense into droplets, at a remarkable rate. Better yet, all the metorg matrix needs to operate is a bit of sunshine, making it ideal for deserts and energy poor, water stressed regions.

Once again, technology has come to the rescue, proving that human ingenuity can counter global problems like population and resource depletion. Luckily for us, and the planet, water is an infinitely renewable resource, with the right tools.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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