It is ironic to know that approximately 70% of the surface of our planet is covered by water, but most of it is not drinkable due to salt. The desalination of water through the use of technologies of great importance to provide more potable water to places where there is little liquid to drink. Two teams from different universities have partnered to collaborate on a project that uses solar energy to perform water desalination.
The multilayer desalination system showed an overall efficiency of 385%
The researchers responsible for the new technique of desalination from solar energy come from MIT, in the USA, and from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, in China. According to the scientists, the multilayer system has an overall efficiency of 385%, being able to produce up to 5.78L of clean water per square meter of solar panels, obtaining twice the production of other similar projects.
The layers mentioned above are composed of an insulating step, which causes the sunlight to be transferred to a black layer of heat absorption. Then, the heat passes through several layers of absorbent material, which directs the water downwards. As a result, the water contained in this last layer evaporates and reaches another surface, where it condenses and flows to be collected.
According to the researchers, the biggest factor responsible for this efficiency is the way heat is conserved. Instead of the heat being lost to the environment, it is transferred to the layer where evaporation occurs. In this way, the salt is separated from the water through the absorption material and is naturally removed. As the material cools, the salt mixes back into the seawater.
The project developed by MIT in partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University was published in an article in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.
Source: MIT, newatlas
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