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All-day fresh water harvesting by microstructured hydrogel membranes

Shi, Ye and Ilic, Ognjen and Atwater, Harry A. and Greer, Julia R. (2021) All-day fresh water harvesting by microstructured hydrogel membranes. Nature Communications, 12 . Art. No. 2797. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC8121874. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-23174-0.

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Solar steam water purification and fog collection are two independent processes that could enable abundant fresh water generation. We developed a hydrogel membrane that contains hierarchical three-dimensional microstructures with high surface area that combines both functions and serves as an all-day fresh water harvester. At night, the hydrogel membrane efficiently captures fog droplets and directionally transports them to a storage vessel. During the daytime, it acts as an interfacial solar steam generator and achieves a high evaporation rate of 3.64 kg m⁻² h⁻¹ under 1 sun enabled by improved thermal/vapor flow management. With a homemade rooftop water harvesting system, this hydrogel membrane can produce fresh water with a daily yield of ~34 L m⁻² in an outdoor test, which demonstrates its potential for global water scarcity relief.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Shi, Ye0000-0002-5228-1604
Atwater, Harry A.0000-0001-9435-0201
Greer, Julia R.0000-0002-9675-1508
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Received 04 February 2021; Accepted 15 April 2021; Published 14 May 2021. We thank Dr. Bruce S. Brunschwig for help with the solar simulator and Daryl Yee for help with 3D printing. We thank Shu Yan for help with drawing schemes. J.R.G. acknowledges the financial support of the Resnick Sustainability Institute and of the Caltech Space Solar Power Project. H.A.A. acknowledges financial support from the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Award Number DE-SC0004993. O. I. acknowledges support from the Caltech Space Solar Power Project and the 3M foundation. Data availability: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon request. Author Contributions: Y.S. and J.R.G. conceived the idea. Y.S. performed materials fabrication and characterization. O.I. performed the numerical simulations. Y.S., O.I., H.A.A., and J.R.G. analyzed the data, discussed the results, and wrote the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature Communications thanks Guihua Yu and Jia Zhu for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Peer reviewer reports are available.
Group:JCAP, Resnick Sustainability Institute, Space Solar Power Project
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Space Solar Power ProjectUNSPECIFIED
Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP)UNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-SC0004993
Subject Keywords:Devices for energy harvesting; Gels and hydrogels; Polymers
PubMed Central ID:PMC8121874
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210514-114309275
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Shi, Y., Ilic, O., Atwater, H.A. et al. All-day fresh water harvesting by microstructured hydrogel membranes. Nat Commun 12, 2797 (2021).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109133
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 May 2021 18:52
Last Modified:08 Feb 2023 00:05

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