Scientists: Water extraction from air not implausible, already going down

2020/10 10 21:10

Written by Amitabh Sinha
| Pune |

October 11, 2020 2:36:03 am

Extraction of water from air is already being carried out in a number of locations, together with in India, utilizing completely different applied sciences, though not windmills. (Representational Picture)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion to a Danish wind vitality firm to discover the potential for extracting water and oxygen from air by utilizing wind generators have been concepts that weren’t simply scientifically sound however are already below implementation at numerous locations, scientists have mentioned.

Extraction of water from air is already being carried out in a number of locations, together with in India, utilizing completely different applied sciences, though not windmills.

However Sandeep Verma, Secretary, Science and Engineering Analysis Board, mentioned wind generators have the best design set-up for harvesting water from moisture-laden air, and even this concept was being tried out at a number of locations. The problem, he mentioned, is to transform the concepts into implementation.

“Parameters reminiscent of design innovation, efficiency optimization, and proper temperature gradients, may also help extract water from air by way of a passive, energy-efficient course of,” he mentioned in a collection tweets.

Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Division of Science and Know-how, mentioned separating oxygen from air can be a normal industrial course of, and a number of other firms engaged in separation of gases routinely do that. “Some membranes are used for separation. Some molecules would undergo, others wouldn’t. That’s how one can separate oxygen as nicely,” he mentioned.

On this course of, wind generators could possibly be used primarily as a supply of fresh vitality, Sharma mentioned.

“However within the extraction of water, wind generators can have a further position,” he mentioned. “The downstream of a wind turbine is throwing loads of air, so it really works like a compressor, or a pump. And for extracting water, the type of techniques which are used, it’s once more mainly a community of membranes that air has to cross by way of, it condenses, and the water is collected by drip.

“The air must cross at a excessive price, and the wind turbine can help that course of…. This stuff are already being tried. We’ve got to make the processes extra environment friendly,” he mentioned.

In truth, the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Chemical Know-how (IICT) has developed a know-how with private-sector firm known as Maithri Aquatech for ‘atmospheric water technology’ that has been deployed at a number of locations. This know-how doesn’t contain wind generators.

“Wind generators are simply one other know-how different that may be explored, is already being explored. However in any other case, there is no such thing as a scientific implausibility in making an attempt to extract water or oxygen from air,” IICT director Dr S Chandrasekhar mentioned. “At a quite simple degree, the place do you get rain from? The know-how we now have developed supplies extraordinarily clear water from air. It’s nearly utterly distilled water. It doesn’t have any salt or minerals, so it doesn’t have the style we’re used to. It requires a bit little bit of processing. However it’s being carried out.

“And never simply in India, however in lots of different components of the world.”

“In fact,” he mentioned, “water we generate from air is prone to be a bit costlier than water that’s accessible usually. I do not need the precise estimates, however it’s not exorbitant.”

Sharma mentioned even the upper prices could be acceptable in places the place water shouldn’t be available. “There are water-scarce locations the place these applied sciences are related even now. The upper prices are rather more acceptable at sure locations in comparison with different places,” he mentioned.

Shekhar Mande, director basic, CSIR, mentioned present applied sciences clearly want enchancment, and that effort must be centered. “Applied sciences must be improved in order that they’re extra energy-efficient and less expensive. These usually are not mature applied sciences, and that’s the place the problem lies,” he mentioned.

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