A team of researchers from China and Singapore has 3D printed a device that can use the heat generated by the sun's rays to make sea water safe to drink.
The scientist’s new type of purifier is based on a fully printed ceramic core, with an integrated solar absorber, insulator, and water delivery device, which can collect and desalinate without any settings. The conversion efficiency of the device is 98% and it also meets the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), which may make it an ideal choice for solving the global water shortage in a sustainable and energy-efficient way.
Dealing with drought through desalination
As the global population continues to grow, and climate change begins to bring new challenges, it is increasingly difficult to obtain safe drinking water in the poorer regions of the world. At the same time, the earth’s oceans account for more than 70% of the earth’s surface, but only 2.5% of fresh water for drinking, which makes seawater purification technology the best solution to the global water shortage.
However, although many initial designs have proven the feasibility of using sunlight to purify seawater, they are usually mass-produced with limited control over their structure, so their thermal efficiency is not high. In order to increase the energy conversion rate from solar energy to steam, researchers have now adopted 3D printing as a method to produce more energy-efficient equipment that can evaporate chemicals at a faster rate.
Ceramic-based solar absorption
Using 3D printing technology, scientists can produce a multi-functional solar absorber based on porous ceramic mesh. Thanks to the inherent insulating properties of the material, the final part proved to be able to be used as a water transmitter, insulator and integral base of the device, on which a graphene absorber can be installed to collect solar energy.
(During testing) The collected water meets drinking water standards in terms of chemical impurities. With strong, durable, non-toxic and anti-fouling properties, the concept of an efficient 3D printed ceramic solar desalination equipment can open the door to more sustainable and greener clean water production.
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