In a groundbreaking advancement, Swiss researchers have pioneered a technology capable of converting fog into clean, drinkable water while simultaneously addressing environmental contaminants. Developed at ETH Zurich, the technology harnesses a specially coated metal mesh to harvest water from fog, offering a sustainable solution for regions grappling with water scarcity and heavy air pollution.
Revealed in the esteemed journal Nature Sustainability, this novel method utilizes a mesh lattice adorned with a specialized blend of polymers and titanium dioxide. When fog drifts through, water droplets cling to the mesh, guided by the polymers, and then flow into a receptacle before dispersing. The titanium dioxide acts as a catalytic force, disintegrating organic pollutants within the droplets and neutralizing their harmful effects.
This transformative technique holds particular promise for areas where fog frequents, yet rainfall is scant. Traditional fog collectors have been utilized in various nations, but this innovation addresses a longstanding challenge: contamination. Standard fog collectors often capture airborne impurities, rendering the collected water unfit for consumption. However, the Zurich researchers’ method offers a dual remedy, mitigating pollution while yielding clean water.
Maintenance requirements are minimal, and the technology’s energy consumption is negligible. It relies on brief exposure to UV light for catalyst regeneration, which subsequently remains effective even in the absence of sunlight—a critical feature for fog-prone regions with limited sunlight.
With this technology, the ETH Zurich team presents an ingenious solution that could potentially revolutionize water-scarce regions and set new standards for sustainable water sourcing, making strides in both environmental stewardship and public health.