VOA Learning English

Researchers in Australia Develop a ‘Water Harvester’

VOA Learning English • voa
May 25, 2024 3 minSource

Researchers in Australia recently announced the launch of a new device that, they say, absorbs water from air to produce drinkable water.

Researchers at the University of Newcastle call the device the Hydro Harvester. They said it can produce up to 1,000 liters of drinkable water a day, adding that it could be “lifesaving during drought or emergencies.”

The Australian team said that unlike other atmospheric water generators , their invention works by heating air instead of cooling it.

The device absorbs water from the atmosphere. Solar energy or heat from other industrial processes can be used to produce hot, wet air. After heating, the air cools, producing water for drinking or watering crops.

Behdad Moghtaderi of the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Innovative Energy Technologies told VOA how the technology operates.

“Hydro Harvester uses an absorbing material to absorb and dissolve moisture from air. So…we use renewable energy..." Moghtaderi said. He added, "When you condense water contained in that air you would have the drinking water at your disposal .”

The researchers say the device can produce enough drinking water each day for a small rural town of up to 400 people. It could also help farmers keep livestock alive during droughts.

Moghtaderi said the technology could be used in parts of the world where water is limited.

Researchers thought their device would be useful because Australia’s climate is dry.

"More than 2 billion people around the world, they are in a similar situation where they do not have access to…high-quality water and they deal with water scarcity ,” Moghtaderi said

Studies of the technology will be done in several Australian communities this year.

The World Economic Forum (WEF), a nonprofit group based in Switzerland, says water scarcity continues to be a problem worldwide

The WEF said getting water from the atmosphere is a “promising emergency solution that can immediately generate drinkable water using moisture in the air.”

However, the group warns that the technology is costly. It estimates that one mid-sized device could cost between $30,000 and $50,000.

I’m John Russell.

Phil Mercer reported on this story for VOA News. John Russell adapted it for VOA Learning English.

Words in This Story

absorb – v. to take something in, such as a liquid

drought – n. a period of time with too little rain

generator – n. a machines whose processes produce energy or a material

dissolve –v. to become mixed into and part of a liquid

condense – v. to change from a gas to a liquid

at (one’s) disposal –idiom to be able to use

scarcity – n. the condition of having very little of something

moisture –n. wetness or water in small amounts

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