Couldn't powdered water be used to combat drought?

In August 2010-ish, a new version of “powdered (‘dried’) water” was announced. They are H2O molecules wrapped in silica of some form.

Following the same logic as shipping powdered milk rather than liquid milk–weight, packing, and freshness–is there some mechanism where the dry water could be liquified into some potable form upon arrival at drought-plagued areas? Sun? CO2?

And the mechanism is not “just add water.” All those jokes are two years old.


The jokes are for a reason.
Carrying spare molecules is a bitch.

It seems like all downside to me. It is going to be more expensive (a lot more, I should think) and heavier than an equivalent amount of regular, wet water.

Just how do you get the wet stuff out? Are starving peasants equipped to do it?

Frankly, I can’t see any advantages to this, and lots of disadvantages. Do you see any advantages? It seems like a solution with no relevant problem.

Well “dry” water is already liquefied. It’s just that small amounts of liquid water are trapped in silica spheres. So getting a the equivalent of a gallon of water in “dry” form isn’t going to weigh any less than a gallon of normal water and will take up more room.

From the link
“Dry water is 95 percent water, even though it is a dry powder. The powder particles contain one water droplet surrounded by modified silica in each, and the silica coating stops the water droplets from combining and turning back into a liquid.”

Water plus silica to hold it will have a larger volume and weight than the water alone. You could do the same thing you suggest with saturated sponges, but you’d have to use waterproof containers. Get it?

From the link:

The reason that the lack of water causes droughts is that water is the vehicle by which nutrients are carried to (and within) plants,and, to a lesser, but still important, extent in animals. Carbon Dioxide and methane and other gasses make up only a tiny component of any nutrients. Water in which the hydrogen-oxygen bond is trapped within silica would prevent nutrients from being dissolved and extracted. In fact, aside from the limited, (if important), applications for which the “powder” is being used, the very fact that the water molecules are powder defeats the purpose of the vast majority of uses to which nature has put water.

Then, there is the matter of transportation. If water is trapped in silica, it probably weighs a bit more than raw water. If we cannot afford to ship lakes into western Texas, how could we afford to ship even heavier “lakes” of powder.

Here’s my can of dehydrated water. Interestingly, it’s being hot-linked on this page, which shows other/older cans.

The reason why powdered milk is easier to ship isn’t that powders are easier to ship than liquids-- in fact the opposite is true. The advantage is that milk is mostly water, so if you remove the water you have to ship far less actual material. There are no such savings to be had with powdered water.

I see what you did there.

golf clap


Yeah, but there might well be merit in his argument. Let’s not be precipitate.

Apparently the silica coating is pretty fragile. The article says you just need to squeeze the powder to release the water.

What you basically have is regular water that’s being transported in very small containers.

As others have noted, you wouldn’t be saving any weight or volume in transporting water this way. In addition, you’d have the cost of transforming the regular water into dry powder form, which I’d bet adds up to a considerable sum for the quantities you’d normally be using water for. And there’d also be the issue of the silica in the water after you released it - you’ll presumably have to filter that out before drinking the water.

Here’s a better idea. Get some tough lightweight waterproof balloons and fill them up with water. Then you can transport them as dry goods, which would lower transportation costs. The increased weight, volume, and cost of the balloons would be smaller than the silica equivalents.

And let’s not cloud the issue.

Don’t get all misty on us now.

The original question was how to return the water to liquid form, which is a process I was ignorant of, and unable to find any information about by searching. The very link in the OP however has a caption indicating “a quick squeeze is enough to release the fluid”, so… I’m going to go with that.

Oh, don’t be such a wet blanket.

So far on this thread, I haven’t seen anyone ask, let alone answer, the obvious question: What, exactly, is the point of packaging water this way?

Everyone so far seems to agree that (water + silica) is going to be bulkier and heavier than the same amount of water alone, and that it’s nothing analogous to powdered milk. So what’s the point?

Prolonged shelf life? :confused: Can it be exposed to the air in this form and sit around for a long time without evaporating? Can I buy it in the bulk bin at the market, then? :stuck_out_tongue:

A point? That’s the beauty of it. It does nothing!

Well, that’s kind of what the article is about. They’re looking at properties of it, to see what they might use it for. The most obvious, perhaps, is the one mentioned at the end. Two powders, each with a different substance dissolved in the water. The powders can be mixed, and the two substances won’t mix until you squeeze or stir the powder mixture.

It’s definitely a niche product. It’s not going to be used just to store water.