Extremely Cost-Effective and Efficient Solar Vapor Generation under Nonconcentrated Illumination Using Thermally Isolated Black Paper

Zhejun Liu, Haomin Song, Dengxin Ji, Chenyu Li, Alec Cheney, Youhai Liu, Nan Zhang, Xie Zeng, Borui Chen, Jun Gao, Yuesheng Li, Xiang Liu, Diana Aga, Suhua Jiang, Zongfu Yu, Qiaoqiang Gan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

351 Scopus citations

Abstract

Passive solar vapor generation represents a promising and environmentally benign method of water purification/desalination. However, conventional solar steam generation techniques usually rely on costly and cumbersome optical concentration systems and have relatively low efficiency due to bulk heating of the entire liquid volume. Here, an efficient strategy using extremely low-cost materials, i.e., carbon black (powder), hydrophilic porous paper, and expanded polystyrene foam is reported. Due to the excellent thermal insulation between the surface liquid and the bulk volume of the water and the suppressed radiative and convective losses from the absorber surface to the adjacent heated vapor, a record thermal efficiency of ≈88% is obtained under 1 sun without concentration, corresponding to the evaporation rate of 1.28 kg (m2 h)−1. When scaled up to a 100 cm2 array in a portable solar water still system and placed in an outdoor environment, the freshwater generation rate is 2.4 times of that of a leading commercial product. By simultaneously addressing both the need for high-efficiency operation as well as production cost limitations, this system can provide an approach for individuals to purify water for personal needs, which is particularly suitable for undeveloped regions with limited/no access to electricity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1600003
JournalGlobal Challenges
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 27 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Keywords

  • carbon materials
  • solar vapor generation
  • solar-to-heat conversion
  • thermal isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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