Nature-inspired design: p- toluenesulfonic acid-assisted hydrothermally engineered wood for solar steam generation

XQ Zhang and LT Yang and B Dang and JB Tao and SJ Li and SL Zhao and W Li and J Li and ZJ Chen and SX Liu, NANO ENERGY, 78, 105322 (2020).

DOI: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2020.105322

Wood-based solar steam generation devices (W-SSGDs) have enormous potential to produce pure water by distillation since they are sustainable, easily prepared and green. However, most W-SSGDs described so far have low solar-to-thermal efficiency (<1.5 kg m(-2) h(-1)) under 1 standard sun irradiation. Inspired by nature, we have now engineered a W-SSGD with improved solar steam generation efficiency by using p-toluenesulfonic acid (pTsOH)-assisted hydrothermal treatment. After treatment, the wood lumens became more hydrophilic and were reduced in diameter from 40-60 mu m to 10-20 mu m. These rationally introduced changes lowered the enthalpy of vaporization of water and greatly enhanced the capacity of the wood for transportation of water. The as- prepared W-SSGD had an evaporation rate of 2.2 kg m(-2) h(-1) and an efficiency of 87%, which, to the best of our knowledge, are the highest reported values for a W-SSGD.

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