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Desalination of Seawater & Production of Electricity with Just Biochar and Sunlight

With the growing development of modern society, the demand for freshwater is increasing. Although three‐quarters of the earth's surface is covered by water, less than 3% of it is available for plants, animals, and human life activities. Even so, fresh water is unevenly distributed across the planet, resulting in inadequate water supplies in many areas. It is supposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) that about half of the world's population will face a lack of freshwater resources by 2050.

As is well known, desalination from seawater is one of the most important methods to solve the shortage of freshwater. Solar energy is safe, low‐cost, and green compared to other energy sources such as wind, tide, and nuclear power. In the early days, seawater was desalinated by concentrating sunlight and heating it to generate water vapor. However, this method often has the disadvantage of low efficiency and has not been widely used.

In recent years, solar‐driven interfacial evaporation has been proposed by researchers as a promising alternative to traditional solar heating evaporation or Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology due to its higher energy conversion efficiency. Currently, a variety of solar thermal conversion materials are used for interfacial evaporation, such as graphene, carbon dots, semiconductors, and plasmonic metal. However, their mass production for practical applications is impeded by costly raw materials, complex preparation processes, and non-biodegradability. Low cost, ease of operation, and high stability are the keys to the broad application of interfacial evaporation materials. Therefore, it has become a hotspot for researchers to design a cheap interfacial evaporation material with a high evaporation rate and facile preparation process.

One such material has in fact been discovered which meets all the criteria for desalination of sea water as well as the production of electricity; it is called Biochar. So it will now be possible with just Biochar and sunlight to desalinate seawater while also being able to produce electricity. 

The unique thermal and optical characteristics of Biochar with its unique carbon nanotubes structure, enable their use as efficient solar absorbers with enhanced overall photothermal conversion efficiency under varying solar light intensities. Due to their exceptional optical absorption efficiency, large specific surface area, low cost, environmental friendliness, and natural carbon availability, Premium Engineered Biochar has attracted intense scientific interest in the production of solar thermal systems for desalination of seawater as well as the production of electricity.

While current research is still underway, more R&D will still be required in order to optimise the system for maximum efficiency and to mass scale the manufacturing process to make it comparatively low cost as compared to existing solutions.

Carbon-Based Sunlight Absorbers in Solar-Driven Steam Generation Devices

Carbon-Based Sunlight Absorbers in Solar-Driven Steam Generation Devices

Exceptional Optical Absorption Efficiency of Biochar

Exceptional Optical Absorption Efficiency of Biochar

Peer-Review Journal Articles on the Subject

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