Issue 6, 2022

Transpiration-powered desalination water bottle

Abstract

Inspired by mangrove trees, we present a theoretical design and analysis of a portable desalinating water bottle powered by transpiration. The bottle includes an annular fin for absorbing solar heat, which is used to boost the evaporation rate of water from the interior synthetic leaf. This synthetic leaf comprises a nanoporous film deposited atop a supporting micromesh. Water evaporating from the leaf generates a highly negative Laplace pressure, which pulls the overlying source water across an upstream reverse osmosis membrane. Evaporated water is re-condensed in the bottom of the bottle for collection. The benefit of our hybrid approach to desalination is that reverse osmosis is spontaneously enabled by transpiration, while the thermal evaporation process is enhanced by heat localization and made more durable by pre-filtering the salt. We estimate that a 9.4 cm diameter bottle, with a 10 cm wide annular fin, could harvest about a liter of fresh water per day from ocean water.

Graphical abstract: Transpiration-powered desalination water bottle

Article information

Article type
Paper
Submitted
12 Oct 2021
Accepted
15 Dec 2021
First published
20 Jan 2022

Soft Matter, 2022,18, 1287-1293

Transpiration-powered desalination water bottle

G. A. Cornish, N. L. Eyegheleme, L. S. Hudson, K. J. Troy, M. M. Vollen and J. B. Boreyko, Soft Matter, 2022, 18, 1287 DOI: 10.1039/D1SM01470F

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