Congratulations to Lin Zhao, Bikram Bhatia, Lenan Zhang, Elise Strobach, Arny Leroy, Sungwoo Yang as well as their collaborators for their recent work on A Passive High-Temperature High-Pressure Solar Steam Generator for Medical Sterilization, which was featured on MIT News and Nature Research Highlights! In this work, we demonstrated a passive solar thermal device mostly built from low-cost off-the-shelf components capable of delivering saturated and pressurized steam to drive sterilization cycles even under hazy and partly cloudy weather. Enabled by an optimized ultra-transparent silica aerogel, the device utilizes an efficient thermal concentration strategy to locally increase the heat flux and temperature obviating the need for active optical concentrators. With almost 2× higher energy efficiency (47%) than those previously reported at 100°C, the device demonstrated successful sterilization in a field test performed in Mumbai, India. In addition to enabling passive sterilization, this work promises the development of solar thermal energy systems for saturated steam generation in energy conversion, storage, and transport applications.
Read more on MIT News, Nature, and The Economist, and read the paper here.