Aligned Millineedle Arrays for Solar Power Seawater Desalination with Site-Specific Salt Formation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Jinchao Wei
  • Peng Li
  • Jie Yu
  • Jiayi Dong
  • Shuangpeng Wang
  • Shengliang Li


Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationSmall
Publication statusOnline published - 21 Jun 2021


As a sustainable and clean water production technology, solar thermal water evaporation has been extensively studied in the past few years. One challenge is that upon operation, salt would form on surface of the solar absorbers leading to inefficient water supply and light absorption and thus much reduced water vaporization rate. To address this problem, a simple solar evaporator based on an array of aligned millineedles for efficient solar water evaporation and controlled site-specific salt formation is demonstrated. The maximum solar evaporation rate achieved is 2.94 kg m−2 h−1 under one Sun irradiation in brine of high salinity (25 wt% NaCl), achieving energy conversion efficiency of 94.5% simultaneously. More importantly, the spontaneously site-specific salt formation on the tips of millineedles endows this solar evaporator with salt harvesting capacity. Rationally separating the clean water and salt from brine by condensation and gravity assistance, this tip-preferential crystallization solar evaporator is not affected by the salt clogging compared with conventional 2D solar evaporators. This study provides new insights on the design of solar evaporators and advances their applications in sustainable seawater desalination and wastewater management.

Research Area(s)

  • crystallization, millineedle array, salt harvesting, solar steam, solar water purification