Solar-powered system offers a route to inexpensive desalination
Feb 14, 2022

Congratulations to Lenan Zhang, Xiangyu Li, Yang Zhong, Arny Leroy, Zhenyuan Xu, and Lin Zhao for their recent work on Highly efficient and salt rejecting solar evaporation via a wick-free confined water layer! In this work, we demonstrate highly efficient and salt rejecting solar evaporation by engineering the fluidic flow in a wick-free confined water layer. With mechanistic modeling and experimental characterization of salt transport, we show that natural convection can be triggered in the confined water. More notably, there exists a regime enabling simultaneous thermal localization and salt rejection, i.e., natural convection significantly accelerates salt rejection while inducing negligible additional heat loss. Furthermore, we show the broad applicability by integrating this confined water layer with a recently developed contactless solar evaporator and report an improved efficiency. This work elucidates the fundamentals of salt transport and offers a low-cost strategy for high-performance solar evaporation.

Read more on MIT News, and read the paper here.