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These solar panels create clean water in the desert

Grant Currin writes in Interesting Engineering on a new development for solar panels.

The C3 Take
  • Less than 20% of the energy that hits a solar panel is turned into electricity, the rest is turned into heat which makes panels even less efficient.
  • Researchers at King Abdullah University in Saudi Arabia have found a way to use this waste heat to create clean water.
  • By using an innovative hydrogel, a solar panel can collect water molecules at night when the air is cooler. When the panel heats up in the day time, the collected water is put in a chamber to be stored for drinking purposes or for cooling the solar panel down.
  • This innovation could pave the way for clean energy to become more efficient, while addressing water scarcity worldwide.

“Peng’s invention can work in two different ways. In cooling mode, the hydrogel is exposed to the open air all the time. During the night, the material collects water molecules. As the sun heats up the solar panel the next day, the molecules evaporate, taking excess heat energy with them.”

Read the full article here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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