The experienced researcher (ER), Dr. Siew-Leng LOO, will carry out a fellowship to develop a new cryogel-based material for onsite water production from seawater and atmospheric moisture. The fellowship will be carried out in Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) under the supervision of Dr. Despina FRAGOULI. Specifically, the research aims to develop photothermal cryogels that can generate potable water via two approaches: (i) solar desalination achieved through solar-induced evaporation of seawater followed by condensation of the vapor generated, and (ii) atmospheric-water harvesting accomplished through the absorption of water vapor followed by (liquid) water recovery via solar-induced evaporation. This work will be the first demonstration of cryogels for solar-induced desalination and atmospheric-water harvesting. A portable device incorporating the photothermal cryogel that is easy to use will also be developed as a technological solution for decentralized water production in remote communities and disaster relief applications. Therefore, the work will not only advance the scientific understanding on desirable structures for enhanced performance in solar-induced desalination and atmospheric-water harvesting, but it also potentially have significant societal and humanitarian implications.
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