3D Hollow-cone Shaped Devices to Upturn Solar-Thermal Conversion Ratio

Published Date : Apr 16, 2018

Researchers from China have devised a new solar structure of 3D hollow-cone shape for increasing the solar to thermal conversion efficiency of solar energy projects. The device, developed by a team of researchers from the Nanjing University, has been named Artificial Transpiration. The device takes inspiration from the natural transpiration process seen in trees. More information regarding the discovery was published recently in the online journal National Science Review.

The device comprises a special water path in it, which can help bring down the energy lost during conduction. The cone structure, which has been built on a graphene film, is capable of collecting more sunlight than a flat device throughout the day, as nearly 10 to 50% of sunlight is diffusive.

Thus the device has a better performance quotient when used in real world than in lab tests. Researchers expect that with the help of this device, the solar-thermal conversion rate of solar power devices can be increased to nearly 85%, which is a massive feat when compared to the 40% rate of conventional devices. This achievement can help the solar power sector to expand in several new industries that have refrained from exploiting the solar energy sector due to low conversion rates.

The team of researchers first used this structure in solar power based waste-water treatment. The test deduced that the structure, apart from retrieving clean water, also helped recycle heavy metals such as cadmium and copper. With more developments, the structure can be developed to have a longer life and for recycling more heavy metals.