Researchers have discovered a material that can “suck” large amounts of drinkable water from thin air, and is now working on how to best utilize this.

Drinkable water from thin air is what lots of people have been praying for. This could be the answer to how we supply water to the driest parts of the world.

A group of scientists at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland have been working on som exiting projects. As a result, they have identified highly absorbent materials that can extract a big amount of drinkable water out of thin air.

The team from APL’s Research and Exploratory Development Department is led by the three scientists: Zhiyong Xia, Matthew Logan and Spencer Langevin (picture). And they describe their discovery Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature Research family.

Their research utilizes metal-organic frameworks, which they refer to as MOF. It is a next generation material that has the largest known surface area per gram. MOFs are fantastic, and kind of like sponges. Just one ounce of it can soak up the value of a football field. That is, if the material was laid in a single layer across the field.

They know the “water collection” concept works, but need to do more research on where to harvest, how to do it efficiently and build device’s that can move around and “collect” air. The group has been studying different types of MOF’s and are trying to find the ultimate one.

“We identified a MOF that could produce 8.66 liters (2.3 gallons) of water per day per kilogram of MOF under ideal conditions—an extraordinary finding,” Xia said. “This will help us deepen our understanding of these materials and guide the discovery of next-generation water-harvesting methods.”

Ally Bissing-Gibson, APL’s Biological and Chemical Sciences program manager speak great words about the hardworking scientists and says: “We look forward to saving the planet, one drop at a time.”

Other great discoverys: Scientists find new molecular can harness over 50% more energy from the sun.