In Abu Dhabi most of the freshwater that is available for consumption to residents of the city come from desalinating plants, which not always are made to run on renewable energy. Scientists and researchers at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology want to harvest a unique renewable source of freshwater, and they’re not talking about rain, as it doesn’t normally rain in a desert.
The researchers are however planning to build a real-time fog detection and monitoring tool for the UAE, which will enable them to tap this potential renewable source of freshwater and improve the safety and efficiency of transportation systems during fog events. The research, carried out in collaboration with the National Research Foundation, look viable due to the location of the UAE.
The UAE is on the edge of a very warm sea on one side and a hot and dry desert on the other, creating optimal conditions of inland fog forming. The afternoon sea breeze brings moisture from the sea and then due to the clear sky conditions at night causes temperature to fall quickly causing rapid cooling of accumulated inland moisture creating fog.
The new tool to be developed by the researchers will receive satellite data in real-time, thereby predicting the occurrence of dense fog, which reduces visibility causing flight delays and highway accidents. An accurate fog detection system, like the one being envisioned, will make transportation systems a lot safer. The research also focuses on creating advanced materials to enhance capture and collection of tiny fog droplets. This material will increase water capture efficiency and hence make use of fog as a renewable source of freshwater.