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Integrated Evaporator for Efficient Solar-Driven Interfacial Steam Generation

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posted on 2020-07-22, 20:18 authored by Jinxing Chen, Bo Li, Guoxiang Hu, Rashed Aleisa, Shan Lei, Fan Yang, Dilong Liu, Fenglei Lyu, Mozhen Wang, Xuewu Ge, Fang Qian, Qiao Zhang, Yadong Yin
Solar-driven interfacial steam generation is a promising technique for clean water production because it can minimize thermal loss by localizing solar-to-heat conversion at the air/liquid interface. Here we report an integrated solar evaporator by partially growing 2D polypyrrole microsheets within a melamine foam through chemical vapor polymerization. These microsheets can induce multiple light reflections within the foam, enable omnidirectional light absorption, provide abundant surfaces to promote heat transfer, and achieve spatially defined hydrophobicity to facilitate vapor escape. Meanwhile, the inherent hydrophilicity of the bottom part of the foam promotes spontaneous upward water transport and suppresses heat loss. The composite foam exhibits an excellent apparent evaporation rate of ∼2 kg/(m2·h) and solar-to-vapor efficiency of ∼91%. The combined advantages of large surface area, high efficiency, low cost, all-weather application, excellent durability, and scalable manufacturing make our integrated design promising for fabricating large-scale solar steam generation systems that are suitable for practical clean water production.

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