Weather-on-Demand: UAE Cloud-seeding technique wins provisional US patent

A cloud-seeding technique developed in the UAE has received a provisional patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The process involved coating a pure salt crystal with a thin coating of titanium dioxide to enhance the condensation process. Experimental results showed improvement in condensation efficiency to form droplets that could fall as rain.

A team formed and led by Dr Linda Zou, Professor of chemical and environmental engineering at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and an awardee of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, are investigating the possibility of increasing rainfall through engineering unique, nanostructured properties of cloud seeding materials using state-of-the-art electron microscopy.

A cloud-seeding plane flies near the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Credit: National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology

The next steps in the project will involve further nanotechnology development in parallel with evaluation in a cloud chamber and numerical modelling to test the effectiveness of the process.

“Nanotechnology opens up the possibility of engineering unique cloud-seeding particles to make the process of water condensation and rain precipitation more efficient over arid regions and beyond,” said Dr Zou.