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Designing solar evaporator via 3D-printing technology

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Utilizing the broad-band solar spectrum for sea water desalination is a promising method that can provide fresh water without sophisticated infrastructures. However, the solar-to-vapour efficiency has been limited due to the lack of a proper design for the evaporator to deal with either a large amount of heat loss or salt accumulation. Here, these issues are addressed via two costeffective approaches: I) a rational design of a concave shaped supporter by 3D-printing that can promote the light harvesting capacity via multiple reflections on the surface; II) the use of a double layered photoabsorber composed of a hydrophilic bottom layer of a polydopamine (PDA) coated glass fiber (GF/C) and a hydrophobic upper layer of a carbonized poly(vinyl alcohol)/ polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVA/PVP) hydrogel on the supporter, which provides competitive benefit for preventing deposition of salt while quickly pumping the water. The 3D-printed solar evaporator can efficiently utilize solar energy (99%) with an evaporation rate of 1.60 kg m–2 h–1 and efficiency of 89% under 1 sun irradiation. The underlying reason for the high efficiency obtained is supported by the heat transfer mechanism. The 3D-printed solar evaporator could provide cheap drinking water in remote areas, while maintaining stable performance for a long term.

Title: Rational Design of a High Performance and Robust Solar Evaporator via 3D-Printing Technology

Journal: Adv. Mater. 2021, 2102649

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