A team of Chinese scientists led by Zhu Jia have developed a new 3D conic device that can greatly increase the solar-thermal conversion efficiency.
The study was published in April 2018 in the National Science Review, a English journal affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Artificial Transpiration Device
• Named as ‘Artificial Transpiration’, the device is inspired by the transpiration process of trees.
• The device is fixed with a special 1D water path which can reduce the energy loss in conduction.
• As 10 to 50 percent of sunlight is diffusive, the cone structure of the device could collect more sunlight throughout the day, compared with a flat device.
• It can enhance the solar-thermal conversion rate to 85 percent, much higher than the common devices that enhance conversion rate to only 40 percent.
• The device will also open new possibilities to utilise the solar energy, as earlier, the use of solar power in a few sectors was discontinued due to its low conversion rate caused by losses in radiation, convection and conduction.
• Scientists applied this device to solar waste-water treatment and the test showed that the device could not only recover clean water but could also recycle heavy metals such as copper and cadmium.
• The device can be further optimised to have a longer life time and recycle more heavy metals.