Sandwich-structured MXene/wood aerogel with waste heat utilization for continuous desalination

Abstract: Solar-driven interfacial evaporation technology has shown promising prospect in desalination. However, the weakened energy efficiency caused by intermittent solar irradiation and salt deposition during continuous desalination process are the great obstacles in the application. Here, we report a sandwich-structured MXene/wood aerogel coupled with phase change materials (PCMs) evaporator for high-efficiency and continuous desalination. The multi-stage water transport channel of DWA and the enhanced thermal localization effect of MXene and DWA optimize the performance of the evaporator. PCMs block as a waste heat recovery module largely reduces heat loss. The evaporation rate of 2.0 kg·m-2·h-1 under one solar irradiation and energy efficiency of 92.6% are achieved. The production of fresh water can reach 15 kg·m-2·day-1. The evaporation rate under intermittent solar illumination is also as high as 1.77 kg·m-2·h-1. There is no clear decrease in evaporation performance as well as salt accumulation for 5 days of continuous evaporation. The solar-driven interfacial evaporation energy balance, water transport, thermal localization and salt resistance mechanisms are analyzed. This work shows an excellent way in breaking the limitations of conventional solar interfacial evaporation and achieve stable desalination under intermittent solar irradiation.

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