Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Faculty Advisor: Kyle Doudrick
Winter 2020-21 Project: Optimization of Fog Harps as an Energy-Free Method to Collect Drinking Water for Caribbean Nations
Lack of drinkable water is a very serious issue facing countless people around the world. In some island nations, such as the Caribbean, lack of infrastructure severely inhibits access to drinking water. In these nations, ocean water cannot easily be used due to the massive costs and energy requirements of modern desalination techniques (e.g. reverse osmosis). There is, however, an untapped source of fresh water that occurs most days of the year in island nations: fog. When water is gathered from the air, energy must normally be used to condense it (e.g., dehumidifier), but fog is composed of water aerosols that have already condensed from the air. Fog can be captured by passing it across a surface, allowing for sustainable collection of fresh water that can be used for household tasks and potentially drinking. The key challenge is designing a simple and affordable device with a high surface area and proper thermal conductivity that allows fog to accumulate.