– Professor Yaghi, thank you
very much for inviting us into your lab. – It’s a pleasure. – I read that you’ve come up with a way to actually suck water out
of the air and store it. – That’s true. We use materials called
metal organic frameworks or MOFs and these are
constructed from metal ions that are in minerals and organic units. Here you have the organic building unit and the other, of a metal ion. And we mix them together and stir to make the metal organic framework or the MOF. And once you remove the
liquid, this is what you get. And this is the material that is the MOF. – So what does that
powder look like close up? – So if I zoom in on a
granule of this solid, the structure does not
look very much unlike this. The metal ion and the
organic are linked together to make the framework that is the MOF and it encompasses space, the liquid will bind to the framework, to the interior of the pores. One-third of the world
population live in arid regions where water is scarce, but that air in those regions contains about 30% humidity. These materials can take up
the water from that atmosphere, concentrate it and deliver liquid water using nothing but sunlight and the MOF. (marimba music) – So depending on what kind of substance you want to attract and store, you actually change the kind of metal and the kind of organic material? – By using a longer organic unit, I can change the pore size. By choosing a different
metal, I can change the metal composition so I can do a
different kind of reaction absorbing different kinds of gases. This MOF is a star
for natural gas storage and if you put this in a natural gas tank, you can store three times
the amount of natural gas than without the MOF. The purple one is very interesting because it traps carbon
dioxide from the atmosphere and also, from emissions in power plants to prevent carbon dioxide
from reaching the atmosphere. – It seems like this
has been a revolutionary invention that could change
so much into the future. – When I started doing this
research in the early ’90s, I was interested in the
beauty of molecules. I was not necessarily interested
in making the new materials going to solve the world’s problems, for a lot of problems facing
societies such as water, such as carbon dioxide. These are tremendous problems
that are being investigated using MOFs worldwide and what remains is really
the wide-scale deployment of these to actually serve society. (upbeat music)