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Fog-to-water conversion is a process of harvesting water from fog using a vertical mesh that intercepts the droplet stream and collects the water in a gutter or a tank. This technology can provide clean drinking water in regions and deserts that receive very little rainfall but have fog and light winds.
One of the companies that has developed a fog collector is Aqualonis, which was inspired by the surface structure of the leaf of an ornamental plant, gladiolus dalenii or dragon’s lily head3. Their device, called CloudFisher, can withstand gale-force gusts of up to 120 km/h and has been installed in various locations in Africa and Asia.
Another example of fog-to-water conversion is the material developed by a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, which mimics the surface patterns of the leaves of Bermuda grass and fern Dryopteris marginata. They found that their material enhanced the fog harvesting performance by 230 per cent compared to a control sample.
ETH Zurich and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz have also colaborated and come out with a revolutionary research in this direction.
The core of this technology lies in a closely meshed lattice of metal wire, coated with a specialized mixture of polymers and titanium dioxide. This unique combination serves a dual purpose: efficiently capturing water droplets from fog and rapidly channelling them into a collection container before the wind can scatter them. Meanwhile, titanium dioxide plays a pivotal role in a chemical process that breaks down organic pollutants found in the droplets, resulting in a purer water source.
Fog-to-water conversion is a promising solution for providing drinking water in water-stressed areas, especially in rural and remote regions. It is also a sustainable and environmentally friendly method that does not require any external energy source or chemical treatment.
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