Reduced graphene oxide composite fiber for solar-driven evaporation and seawater desalination

Abstract: Solar-driven evaporation is a promising technology for freshwater production. However, traditional photothermal materials mainly focus on the issues of energy efficiency and versatility. The high cost of materials and the deterioration of solid material properties caused by salt accumulation hinder severely restricting industrialization. To solve these problems, a kind of flexible non-woven fabric loaded with reducing graphene oxide (RGO@fabric) is designed and prepared in this paper, which can remove the salts formed by evaporation through a simple washing process to clean and recycle the fabric. A bridge-shaped evaporation system is designed and established to form a co-evaporation mode on the upper and lower sides while avoiding heat loss to bulk seawater. Under the simulated sunlight (1.0 kW m-2), a high evaporation rate of 1.54 kg m-2 h-1 and a high evaporation efficiency of 97.83% are obtained. The outdoor solar evaporation experiment under natural sunlight shows that the average evaporation rate of RGO@fabric is 1.10 kg m-2 h-1. RGO@fabric provides a new way for low-cost, high-efficiency, large-scale solar seawater desalination because of superior solar thermal conversion performance and high evaporation rate.

Keywords: Solar-driven evaporation, seawater desalination,  reduced graphene oxide, non-woven fabric, thermal conductivity

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