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Fog 'harvesting' could mean water for poor

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Boston (UPI) Apr 21, 2011
A U.S. researcher says he wants to help the world's poor gain access to water through a technology based on nature called fog harvesting.

The technology mimics the technique of a beetle species in the arid Namib Desert on the west coast of Africa that harvest water from morning fogs that roll in by collecting water droplets condensing on its back.

Shreerang Chhatre, an engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, say a system borrowing the beetle's trick could attract and corral water droplets from fogs, allowing poor villagers to collect clean water near their homes instead of spending hours carrying water from distant wells or streams.

The World Health Organization estimates nearly 900 million people worldwide live without safe drinking water and the burden of finding and transporting water falls heavily on women and children, an MIT release said Thursday.

In a fog-harvesting system, a fence-like mesh panel that attracts water droplets is connected to receptacles into which water drips.

Chhatre's training as a chemical engineer has focused on the wettability of materials -- their tendency to either absorb or repel liquids -- and he has worked to improve the material used in fog harvesting systems.

In some field tests, fog harvesters have captured a quart of water per one square meter of mesh, per day, the MIT release said.

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