People are using special nets and traps to catch moisture from the air and are turning that moisture, known as fog, into drinking water.
Fog nets have been used since the 1980s in many arid parts of the world, including Africa, South America, Asia, the Middle East and even California.
The largest fog collection project in the world is in Morocco, where over 600 square meters of nets provide drinking water to hundreds in a region severely hit by droughts induced by climate change.
Without the fog collectors, people wouldn’t survive in these dry countries very long.
Water crises are looming in many parts of the world, so devising innovative and sustainable ways to gain access to clean water is essential.
Fog harvesters are often put up against wind streams to catch microscopic droplets which gather and congregate on a fine mesh until there is enough weight to travel down into a water tank.
These harvesters provide essential access to water for so many communities, and the technology behind them has evolved over the years to offer a better chance at catching water, less resistance to the elements and less maintenance and upkeep.
Researchers at Virginia Tech University in the States have created a new design that has three times the efficiency of regular fog nets. They call it a “harp,” because its vertical pattern of wires makes it resemble the string instrument.
“Our long-term goal is that the fog harp can completely replace the classical net design, resulting in cheaper fog harvesters that end up collecting substantially more water,” Jonathan Boreyko, one of the authors of the study at Virginia Tech, explains.
“The problem with the classical design is that the fog droplets end up getting stuck in the holes of the net,
“Because the horizontal wires obstruct their path on the way down into the reservoir. The net then becomes heavily clogged with water, which makes it impermeable to the wind.
“As a result, the foggy wind simply flows around the net, instead of through it, which reduces the amount of fog that can be collected”.
The fog harp consists instead of an array of vertical wires held under tension within a frame, without any intersecting wires, so that droplets can easi;ly slide down at very small sizes.
This allows the harp to attract and capture more moisture than other designs.
Innovation at its best, as every drop counts.