DRL News

02/07/2020 Ultrahigh-efficiency desalination via a thermally-localized multistage solar still

Congratulations to Zhenyuan Xu, Lenan Zhang, Lin Zhao, Bikram Bhatia, Kyle Wilke, Youngsup Song and their collaborators in China for their recent work on ultrahigh-efficiency solar-powered water desalination which was featured on MIT News. This work demonstrated a record-high solar-to-vapor conversion efficiency of 385% with a production rate of 5.78 L m-2h-2 using a low-cost and free-of-salt accumulation multistage architecture. This work elucidates the fundamental limit of the solar-to-vapor conversion process and provides useful design guideline for existing passive solar thermal desalination technologies.

Read more on MIT News and read the paper here.

02/04/2020 Congratulations to DRL Alumni Joining Academia!

Congratulations to DRL alumni joining academia! Find out more about our recent alumni:

Solomon Adera, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Website)
Shuai Gong, Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China (Website)

01/29/2020 Congratulations to Geoff for winning the best poster award at MARC 2020!

Congratulations to Geoffrey Vaartstra for winning the best poster award at the 2020 Microsystems Annual Research Conference (MARC)!

12/11/2019 Congratulations to Elise Strobach for successfully defending her PhD!

Congratulations to Elise Strobach for successfully defending her PhD on Optically Transparent, Thermally Insulating and Soundproofing (OTTIS) Aerogel for High-Efficiency Window Applications.

During her PhD, Elise developed a high-clarity silica aerogel optimized for use in building windows that is able to achieve visible transmittance over 98 % and thermal conductivity lower than 13 mW/mK. This performance was achieved by careful tailoring of the interconnected particle network driven by optical modeling to reduce effective scattering size within the material below 10 nm diameter. Elise also characterized the optical, thermal and acoustic properties of the materials, demonstrating that sealing high-clarity aerogel into the gaps of existing double-pane window designs, we can achieve a center-of-glazing U-factor of 0.20 BTU/h/ft2/F, which is 35-50% more insulating than current building codes across North America. early thermal results and a production-scale techno-economic analysis indicate the aerogel has the ability to achieve cost-effective thermal performance that is competitive with traditional double- and triple-pane windows. Successful development and commercialization of this high-clarity aerogel has the potential to save billions of dollars in annual building energy losses while satisfying the diverse and complex needs of our buildings. Learn more about Elise’s work and AeroShield.