Tuesday, January 31, 2023

How to take advantage of an untapped freshwater source

According to researchers, is almost unlimited supply of fresh water as water vapor over Earth’s oceans, but it remains unused.

A new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (USA) is the first Recommend investment in new infrastructure capable of water vapor harvesting Oceans as a solution to limited freshwater supplies in various parts of the world.

The study, led by Praveen Kumar, professor and executive director of civil and environmental engineering at the Prairie Research Institute, and published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, evaluated the feasibility of a hypothetical structure capable of capturing and condensing water vapor from the ocean’s surface . it in fresh water 14 places with water problems around the worldAnd to do so in a way that remains viable in the face of continued climate change.

,Water scarcity is a global problem And it touches us closely in the United States because of a drop in water levels in the Colorado River basin, affecting the entire west of the country,” Kumar explained in a statement. However, in subtropical regions, such as the western United States, States, nearby oceans are constantly evaporating water because there is enough solar radiation due to low cloud cover throughout the year.”

According to the researchers, previous techniques of wastewater recycling, cloud seeding and desalination have met with only limited success. Although established in some parts of the world, desalination plants face sustainability issues due to salty and heavy metal-laden wastewater, to the point that California recently rejected moves to add new desalination plants. .

“At some point we will have to find a way to increase the supply of fresh water, because conserving and recycling water from existing sources, while necessary, will not be sufficient to meet human needs. We believe that our proposed The new method can do that.” massively,” says Kumar.

Researchers conduct atmospheric and economic analysis of the placement of hypothetical marine structures 210 m wide and 100 m high.

Through their analysis, the researchers concluded that moisture capture at ocean surfaces is feasible for many water-challenged regions around the world. The projected water yield of the proposed structures could supply fresh water to large population centers in the subtropics.

One of the strongest predictions of climate change is that dry areas will become drier and wet areas wetter. “Areas suffering from water scarcity today are likely to become even more dry in the future, exacerbating the problem,” said Francina Dominguez, professor of atmospheric sciences and co-author of the study. “And unfortunately, people continue to move to areas where water is scarce, such as the southwest of the country”.

However, this projection of increasingly dry conditions favors new techniques for harvesting water vapor from the ocean.

“Climate projections suggest that ocean vapor flux will only increase over time, providing an even greater freshwater supply,” says graduate student Afifa Rehman, co-author of the study. “So the idea we propose will be feasible under climate change. It provides a much-needed and effective approach to climate change adaptation, especially for vulnerable populations living in arid and semi-arid regions of the world.” For.”

The researchers point out that one of the most beautiful features of this proposed solution is that it works like a natural water cycle.

“The difference is that we can guide where the evaporated ocean water goes,” explains Dominguez. When Pravin brought up the idea to me, we both wondered why no one had thought of it before, because It seemed such an obvious solution. But it hasn’t been done before, and I think it’s because researchers focus so much on topological solutions, but our study shows that there are actually other options. ”

The researchers say this study opens the door to novel infrastructure investments that could effectively address the growing global scarcity of freshwater.

Nation World News Desk
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