Atmospheric Water Harvester Using a Gel with Embedded Salt


Passively Generate Water From Air 

Inventors: Han-Jae Cho

Cho and his students focus on heat/mass transfer, soft materials, and interfacial phenomena to develop groundbreaking technologies for energy and environmental applications. They are designers, builders, experimentalists, analysts, modelers, tinkerers, and coders.

Cho also previously was a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton. He also earned his Phd and Master’s at MIT.

The Invention:

This invention is an inexpensive gel-based atmospheric water harvester and dehumidifier that is less expensive, more energy efficient, and requires fewer parts than current technology in the marketplace. The researchers have developed a cost-effective gel-based atmospheric water harvester and dehumidifier that surpasses existing technologies. This device operates continuously, even in off-grid areas, and efficiently generates drinking water from air by capturing water vapor. It utilizes a gel membrane to passively transform water vapor into liquid form, mimicking a liquid desiccation system used in air conditioning. The innovation allows for simplified, solid-state operation, enabling continuous water harvesting and distillation without the need for separate absorption and regeneration phases. The use of affordable polymeric materials and common salts makes it more economical than current options. Notably, it does not rely on a refrigeration system, making it effective in arid climates where conventional technologies struggle to harvest water.


  • Military deployments
  • Camping/recreation
  • Steam tower water recovery

Market opportunity:

Many parts of the world lack convenient access to clean water. People in these areas are restricted to using what’s available or relying on expensive technology to turn moisture in the air into water. This adds challenges and costs to activities as varied as weekend camping trips and military deployments.

 This technology can also be utilized in:

  • Energy & environment 
  • Engineering and manufacturing 
  • Chemistry

Intellectual property:

  • 63/420,288 Filed on October 28, 2022
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Zachary Miles
Associate Vice President for Technology & Partnerships
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Han-Jae Cho
Yiwei Gao
Ryan Phung
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