Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Major advance in using sunlight to produce steam without boiling water

Abstract:
Scientists today are describing a revolutionary new way to use sunlight to produce steam and other vapors without heating an entire container of fluid to the boiling point. The advance, reported in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal ACS Nano, has potential applications, especially in the poverty-stricken areas of the developing world, that include inexpensive, compact devices for purification of drinking water, sterilization of medical instruments and sanitizing sewage.

Major advance in using sunlight to produce steam without boiling water

Washington, DC | Posted on November 19th, 2012

"This research opens up a revolutionary new application of nanoparticles in solar energy," said Paul Weiss, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of ACS Nano, one of more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific journals published by ACS, the world's largest scientific society. "The authors show that sunlight can be used to create steam with virtually no wasteful heating of the surrounding liquid. The potential societal benefits are staggering. They include more energy-efficient distillation of alcohol, a new and highly practical strategy for desalination and water purification and compact solar-driven sources of steam for sterilization and sanitation in resource-poor locations," said Weiss.

Naomi Halas, D.Sc., Peter Nordlander, Ph.D., and colleagues note in the report that metallic nanoparticles (so small that 1,000 would fit across the width of a human hair) absorb large amounts of light, resulting in a dramatic rise in their temperature. They are with Rice University. That ability to generate heat has fostered interest among scientists in using nanoparticles in a range of applications. These include photothermal treatment of certain forms of cancer, laser-induced drug release and nanoparticle-enhanced bioimaging.

Scientists in the past also explored the use of nanoparticles in solar energy applications. However, that research focused mainly on using nanoparticles to improve the ability of fluids to conduct heat. Until now, scientists had not reported on the use of nanoparticles, mixed into fluids, to capture sunlight, heat up and change the fluid into steam or other vapor.

The new report explains that nanoparticles illuminated by light can quickly rise to temperatures above 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the boiling point of water. Steam forms around the surface of each nanoparticle, billons of which can be placed in water or other fluids. Eventually, the vapor escapes from the particle, forming nanobubbles that float to the top of the surface and escape as water vapor or steam, vapors of ethanol in the case of distillation of alcohol for beverages or fuel, or other vapors.

It describes the use of this approach to measure and document solar steam generation in water solutions illuminated by sunlight containing different kinds of nanoparticles. One solution contained silicon dioxide/gold nanoparticles and another contained carbon nanoparticles. The nanoparticles began to produce steam within 5-20 seconds after shining sunlight into the solutions. The gold nanoparticle solution produced steam in small "microexplosive" bursts. The scientists used the gold nanoparticles to distill alcohol from water and got higher yields of alcohol than would have occurred by boiling the solution.

An impressive 82 percent of the sunlight absorbed by the nanoparticles went directly to generating steam. The overall energy efficiency of the steam generation process was 24 percent, and the scientists had made no effort to optimize the process.

"These results clearly indicate that solar steam generation is a process that has significant potential for use in a wide variety of energy- and sustainability-relevant applications," the report states. "Solar-driven, stand-alone waste processing or water purification systems could be developed based on this process. High-temperature (about 240 degrees F. and above) steam produced directly using sunlight could also be used for compact sterilization or sanitation purposes, from the processing of medical waste to the cleaning of medical or dental equipment, minimizing the resource, time and input chemical requirements demanded by current methods. With further development, this approach may be adaptable to higher pressures and other working fluids to drive turbines in solar energy harvesting applications. This approach may also be modified to harvest radiant energy from sources other than the sun, for instance, for the capture of waste energy from geothermal, residential or biological sources."

The authors acknowledge funding from the Robert A. Welch Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

####

About American Chemical Society (ACS)
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact .

Follow us: Twitter | Facebook

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Michael Bernstein

202-872-6042

Copyright © American Chemical Society (ACS)

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Nanomedicine

Arrowhead Receives Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1/2 Study of ARO-HBV for Treatment of Hepatitis B February 15th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Receives Orphan Drug Designation for ARO-AAT February 15th, 2018

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers February 15th, 2018

Understanding brain functions using upconversion nanoparticles: Researchers can now send light deep into the brain to study neural activities February 14th, 2018

Discoveries

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Unconventional superconductor may be used to create quantum computers of the future: They have probably succeeded in creating a topological superconductor February 19th, 2018

Announcements

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected February 21st, 2018

Oxford Instruments announces Dr Kate Ross as winner of the 2018 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for North and South America February 20th, 2018

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality February 20th, 2018

Environment

Ultra-efficient removal of carbon monoxide using gold nanoparticles on a molecular support: New method and mechanism for state-of-the-art gas purification February 9th, 2018

New filters could enable manufacturers to perform highly-selective chemical separation January 23rd, 2018

Rice U.'s one-step catalyst turns nitrates into water and air: NSF-funded NEWT Center aims for catalytic converter for nitrate-polluted water January 5th, 2018

'Quantum material' has shark-like ability to detect small electrical signals December 20th, 2017

Energy

Round-the-clock power from smart bowties February 5th, 2018

Silk fibers could be high-tech ‘natural metamaterials’ January 31st, 2018

A simple new approach to plastic solar cells: Osaka University researchers intelligently design new highly efficient organic solar cells based on amorphous electronic materials with potential for easy printing January 28th, 2018

Nature paper by Schlumberger researchers used photothermal based nanoscale IR spectroscopy to analyze heterogeneous process of petroleum generation January 23rd, 2018

Water

Rice U.'s one-step catalyst turns nitrates into water and air: NSF-funded NEWT Center aims for catalytic converter for nitrate-polluted water January 5th, 2018

A new way to mix oil and water: Condensation-based method developed at MIT could create stable nanoscale emulsions November 8th, 2017

Magnetized viruses attack harmful bacteria: Rice, China team uses phage-enhanced nanoparticles to kill bacteria that foul water treatment systems August 2nd, 2017

Bacteria-coated nanofiber electrodes clean pollutants in wastewater July 1st, 2017

Alliances/Trade associations/Partnerships/Distributorships

New era in high field superconducting magnets – opening new frontiers in science, nanotechnology and materials discovery January 9th, 2018

Leti Field Trials Demonstrate New Multicarrier Waveform for Rural, Maritime Broadband Radio: Field Trial in Orkney Islands Used New Filtered Multicarrier Waveform at 700MHz Band with Flexible Bandwidth Usage (Fragmented and Continuous Spectrum) December 18th, 2017

A new product to help combat mouldy walls, thanks to technology developed at the ICN2 December 14th, 2017

JPK Instruments announce partnership with Swiss company, Cytosurge AG. The partnership makes Cytosurge’s FluidFM® technology available on the JPK NanoWizard® AFM platform December 8th, 2017

Solar/Photovoltaic

A simple new approach to plastic solar cells: Osaka University researchers intelligently design new highly efficient organic solar cells based on amorphous electronic materials with potential for easy printing January 28th, 2018

Tweaking quantum dots powers-up double-pane solar windows: Engineered quantum dots could bring down the cost of solar electricity January 2nd, 2018

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Inorganic-organic halide perovskites for new photovoltaic technology November 6th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project