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The irrigation of agricultural land requires a lot of water. However, new technology can help reduce the amount you use by capturing moisture from the air through atmospheric irrigation. Here is an overview of two recent inventions that use this technique.

The AirDrop irrigation system
The best known atmospheric irrigation system is undoubtedly the AirDrop. This device was designed by Edward Linnacre, an Australian university student who won the 2011 James Dyson Prize for his invention. Here’s how his ingenious system works:

1. Hot air is driven underground through a turbine inlet

2. The hot air is then rapidly cooled as it travels through the underground copper piping


3. As the air cools, it reacts with the copper tubing to create condensation

4. The condensation droplets are then collected in an underground reservoir

5. Finally, a pump drives the water to the roots of the crops via a semi-permeable pipe

The AirDrop design also includes an LCD screen displaying water levels, pressure strength, solar battery life, and system health.

Absorbent gels
Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin have invented super moisture wicking gels (SMAGs) that scavenge water from the air. SMAGs are inserted into the ground and slowly release water when heated to a specific temperature. During this process, some of the moisture returns to the air, making it easier to collect more water.

Sustainable agricultural practices like atmospheric irrigation are crucial for preserving the environment. They also allow farmers to cultivate less fertile soils in areas where water is not easily accessible.


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