Clean water from humid air? Just add sunlight

Asst Prof Tan Swee Ching from the Dept of Materials Science and Engineering at NUS Faculty of Engineering, together with doctoral students Dilip Krishna Nandakumar and Zhang Yaoxin, have developed a zinc-based hydrogel that can, with natural sunlight, harvest clean water from humid air. The gel’s optimal absorption cycle of 15 minutes and desorption of five minutes, allows it to collect up to 14 times its weight in water a day and be reused more than 1,000 times. With funding from Temasek Foundation Ecosperity, the team is now working on producing the hydrogel for industrial use. They are also working on developing variants of the hydrogel that will use other minerals apart from zinc oxide.