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Solar thermal energy stills for desalination: A review of designs, operational parameters and material advances

Chamsa-ard, W., Fawcett, D., Fung, C.C.ORCID: 0000-0001-5182-3558 and Poinern, G. (2020) Solar thermal energy stills for desalination: A review of designs, operational parameters and material advances. Journal of Energy and Power Technology, 2 (4).

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The demand for high-quality freshwater is increasing due to global population growth, intensifying agricultural practices and expanding industrial development. Additionally, many global regions have low levels of rainfall which makes them arid and incapable of supporting large human populations or agriculture. Currently, large quantities of fossil fuels are used to generate the power needed to drive energy intensive desalination processes that deliver high-quality freshwater to many of these regions. However, the use of fossil fuels has led to high greenhouse gas emissions, environmental degradation and global warming. Solar-thermal desalination is a low-cost, sustainable and eco-friendly strategy for producing high-quality freshwater without using energy derived from fossil fuels. However, in spite of recent developments to advance solar-thermal desalination, the most effective strategies for achieving higher performance levels still remains elusive. To tackle this problem, the present article reviews several solar-thermal still configurations, including materials, system design parameters, influencing factors and operational parameters. Moreover, recent material advances in plasmonic nanoparticle-based volumetric systems, nanomaterial enhanced phase change materials and interfacial solar evaporators are discussed. These new material advances can have the potential to significantly improve the conversion of light-to-heat, enhance vapor generation and promote greater water production rates.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Chemistry and Physics
Engineering and Energy
Publisher: Lisden Publishing Inc.
Copyright: © 2020 by the author
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