A cone-shaped desalination device capable of simultaneously producing electricity using only sunlight

V-H. Trinh, N-A. Nguyen, V-D. Dao, Y. Jeong, I. Yoon, H-S.Choi
Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea

Keywords: water, electricity, sunlight, desalination, cone

The shift to an industrial ecosystem that operates with abundant water and sunlight on the earth is essential to the sustainability of mankind. One effort to do this is to produce freshwater utilizing solar energy, called solar steam generation. Here, we develop a dual-function ecosystem of the 3-dimensional conical structure consisted of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which utilizes the solar energy to produce the fresh water from any pollutated water or saline water at the massive production rate and to generate the high electric power of hundreds mW·m-2 using evaporation-enhanced capillary water stream of the structure under ambient daylight conditions. Since this cone-shaped device acquires all energy required from the environment, it will find immediate applications in providing electricity and freshwater for living and system maintenance in water-abundant isolated locations such as islands or wetlands. The device of CNTs has advantages in solar steam generation because it can be more exposed to the environment due to its high surface curvature and because it can be thermally isolated from the cold water by the inside air-pocket. A single device of which vertical projection area is 0.64 cm2 can show high water evaporation rate of 1.6 kg·m-2·h-1 at 20 °C.