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Generate steam by solar heating with nanoporous graphene

By Chemical Engineering |

Researchers, led by professor Mingwei Chen at the Advanced Institute for Materials Research (AIMR) of Tohoku University (Sendai City, Japan; www.wpi-aimr.tohoku.ac.jp), have developed a material that efficiently generates steam by solar heating. In laboratory trials using simulated solar radiation, the N-doped hydrophilic nanoporous graphene was shown to generate steam with 80% conversion efficiency, which is well above the 56% efficiency achieved by graphite powders. The heating rate with the new material was also found to be very fast, with an evaporation rate of 1.5 kg/h-cm, even though the graphene material is two orders of magnitude thinner than graphite materials. The researchers believe the material shows promise for low-cost, highly efficient solar steam generation because it uses environmentally friendly carbon materials with the lowest molar specific heat as opposed to using metals with high environmental burden. They also plan to develop a procedure to mass-produce the nanoporous graphene for industrial applications, including systems to generate water and to purify contaminated water.
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