Category Archives: GreenTech

This box sucks pure water out of dry desert air

For many of us, clean, drinkable water comes right out the tap. But for billions it’s not that simple, and all over the world researchers are looking into ways to fix that. Today brings work from Berkeley, where a team is working on a water-harvesting apparatus that requires no power and can produce water even in the dry air of the desert. Hey, if a cactus can do it, why can’t we?

While there are numerous methods for collecting water from the air, many require power or parts that need to be replaced, what professor Omar Yaghi has developed needs neither.

The secret isn’t some clever solar concentrator or low-friction fan — it’s all about the materials. Yaghi is a chemist, and has created what’s called a metal-organic framework, or MOF, that’s eager both to absorb and release water.

It’s essentially a powder made of tiny crystals in which water molecules get caught as the temperature decreases. Then, when the temperature increases again, the water is released into the air again.

Yaghi demonstrated the process on a small scale last year, but now he and his team have published the results of a larger field test producing real-world amounts of water.

They put together a box about two feet per side with a layer of MOF on top that sits exposed to the air. Every night the temperature drops and the humidity rises, and water is trapped inside the MOF; in the morning, the sun’s heat drives the water from the powder, and it condenses on the box’s sides, kept cool by a sort of hat. The result of a night’s work: 3 ounces of water per pound of MOF used.

That’s not much more than a few sips, but improvements are already on the way. Currently the MOF uses zicronium, but an aluminum-based MOF, already being tested in the lab, will cost 99 percent less and produce twice as much water.

With the new powder and a handful of boxes, a person’s drinking needs are met without using any power or consumable material. Add a mechanism that harvests and stores the water and you’ve got yourself an off-grid potable water solution going.

“There is nothing like this,” Yaghi explained in a Berkeley news release. “It operates at ambient temperature with ambient sunlight, and with no additional energy input you can collect water in the desert. The aluminum MOF is making this practical for water production, because it is cheap.”

He says that there are already commercial products in development. More tests, with mechanical improvements and including the new MOF, are planned for the hottest months of the summer.

This box sucks pure water out of dry desert air

For many of us, clean, drinkable water comes right out the tap. But for billions it’s not that simple, and all over the world researchers are looking into ways to fix that. Today brings work from Berkeley, where a team is working on a water-harvesting apparatus that requires no power and can produce water even in the dry air of the desert. Hey, if a cactus can do it, why can’t we?

While there are numerous methods for collecting water from the air, many require power or parts that need to be replaced, what professor Omar Yaghi has developed needs neither.

The secret isn’t some clever solar concentrator or low-friction fan — it’s all about the materials. Yaghi is a chemist, and has created what’s called a metal-organic framework, or MOF, that’s eager both to absorb and release water.

It’s essentially a powder made of tiny crystals in which water molecules get caught as the temperature decreases. Then, when the temperature increases again, the water is released into the air again.

Yaghi demonstrated the process on a small scale last year, but now he and his team have published the results of a larger field test producing real-world amounts of water.

They put together a box about two feet per side with a layer of MOF on top that sits exposed to the air. Every night the temperature drops and the humidity rises, and water is trapped inside the MOF; in the morning, the sun’s heat drives the water from the powder, and it condenses on the box’s sides, kept cool by a sort of hat. The result of a night’s work: 3 ounces of water per pound of MOF used.

That’s not much more than a few sips, but improvements are already on the way. Currently the MOF uses zicronium, but an aluminum-based MOF, already being tested in the lab, will cost 99 percent less and produce twice as much water.

With the new powder and a handful of boxes, a person’s drinking needs are met without using any power or consumable material. Add a mechanism that harvests and stores the water and you’ve got yourself an off-grid potable water solution going.

“There is nothing like this,” Yaghi explained in a Berkeley news release. “It operates at ambient temperature with ambient sunlight, and with no additional energy input you can collect water in the desert. The aluminum MOF is making this practical for water production, because it is cheap.”

He says that there are already commercial products in development. More tests, with mechanical improvements and including the new MOF, are planned for the hottest months of the summer.

Solar Financing Platform Wunder Raises $3.6 Million

solar-power-generator Wunder Capital, a provider of solar financing for medium-sized businesses, has raised $3.6 million in a new round of financing. In all, the company has raised $4.7 million from Techstars Ventures, Fenway Summer Ventures, and FinTech Collective, alongside existing seed investors. Wunder, a financial services company for the solar industry, graduated from Techstars in 2014. The founders of… Read More

Screw Those $300 Standing Desks. This Cardboard One Is $25

Oristand Cardboard Standing Desk Is sitting at a computer all day making you fat, but standing desks are too expensive? The Hootsuite CEO’s nifty new side project could save your spine and slim your belly. Oristand is a $25 standing desk made of cardboard. Just unfold the contraption, stick it atop your normal desk, and you can work without hunching. Some employees at Hootsuite were already bolting little IKEA shelves… Read More

Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates Join Forces To Invest in Clean Energy Technology

clean energy shutterstock The founders of Facebook and Microsoft are teaming up to solve climate change. Mark Zuckerberg announced today that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have launched the Breakthrough Energy Coalition with Bill Gates to invest in zero-carbon energy technology around the world. The organization’s membership roster includes some of the most prolific names in technology, including Richard… Read More

Jeff Bezos’ Space Program Successfully Lands A Rocket

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.21.02 AM Jeff Bezos took to Twitter for the first time to announce a milestone from his space company Blue Origin, and the internet soaked it in… The rarest of beasts – a used rocket. Controlled landing not easy, but done right, can look easy. Check out video: https://t.co/9OypFoxZk3 — Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 24, 2015 The “New Shepard” vehicle flew to space… Read More

Marijuana Startup Incubator “Gateway” Fires Up

Gateway Marijuana Incubator “People should be focused on the business, not hanging out and getting high” insists Carter Laren, co-founder of marijuana startup funder and incubator Gateway, which launches today in Oakland, CA. But even if you’re stoned, you should be able to see the opportunity here. Marijuana prohibition is coming to an end, and massive businesses will grow in its place. Gateway wants… Read More

PubNub Expands Series C To $25M, Banks On IoT To Boost Business On Its Messaging Network

pubnub PubNub, the startup that has built a data network that carries messaging for apps, IoT hardware and other low-latency services, is today announcing that it has extended and closed its Series C round. The San Francisco-based company has raised $25 million, funding that it will use to sharpen its focus on Internet of Things applications and hardware as well as clean energy and social… Read More

Green Bits Launches Point Of Sale Service For Cannabis Shops

GreenBits - 12 Originally, I was trying to come up with a really whip-smart headline for this…like: “Weed Is The Gateway Drug For Gateway Point Of Sale Services,” but there was no need. The news is simple: A super-smart group of folks that sold a company (Outright.com) to GoDaddy has launched its point of sale service specifically aimed at shops selling cannabis. They’re called… Read More

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