Cruel irony - the surface of the Earth is covered with water, but the vast majority of it is undrinkable. If
One of the simplest ways to do this isuse the fundamentals of the physics of evaporation and re-condensation of water. Researchers at the Dalian Maritime University in China have developed a new desalination plant that can float on the surface of seawater, efficiently absorb solar energy, and use that heat to evaporate water.
The block itself consists of three layers:the main part is polyethylene foam, which helps it float and acts as a heat insulator. Outside, the foam is wrapped in special paper - an absorbent material used in disposable diapers. It draws water up to the surface. The upper surface is coated with titanium nitride oxide (TiNO).
In the field of solar energy, TiNO is a commona commercial coating that absorbs the sun's rays. It is widely used in solar hot water systems and photovoltaic installations. Titanium nitride oxide has a high solar absorption and low thermal emissivity. This means that it efficiently converts solar energy into thermal energy.
Desalination plant diagram. Photo: Chao Chang
Then this block is placed in the solarthe distiller is a transparent plastic container with an inclined lid that captures condensed fresh water and directs it to a collection point. In tests, the team found that the new solar cell has a 46% efficiency in converting solar energy to water. In general, for single installations of this type, 30 to 40% is expected.
It is important to note that the device avoidsone major mistake is contamination due to the accumulation of salts on the surface. Over time, this reduces its effectiveness. During testing, the team found that no salt layer had formed. This indicates that special pores on the block's coating drain the salt and dump it back into the seawater. Another benefit, according to the team, is that the paper material can be reused more than 30 times.
Scientists note the low cost and high efficiency of the development.
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