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Research paper published by the Team led by Professor Zhang Hua in Sub-publication of Cell

June 28, 2022 | By Zhang Liu | Copyedited by William, Zhang Liu

Recently, Professor Zhang Hua from School of Energy and Power Engineering worked together with professor Wang Ruzhu from Shanghai Jiaotong University published a paper titled “High yield and scalable water harvesting of honeycomb hygroscopic polymer driven by natural sunlight”in Cell Reports Physical Science. It has reported that a hydrogel-based composite sorbent (PCLG) with high adsorption capacity per unit volume has been developed with an optimized honeycomb structure, which has potential applications in global water harvesting. USST was the first unit; Wang Jiayun, Deng Chaohe, young teachers from SEPE were the first authors as well as their students Zhon Guodong, Ying Wenjun. Professor Zhang Hua and Professor Wang Ruzhu were the corresponding authors.

Two thirds of the world’s population is affected by water shortages. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop flexible and energy-efficient systems. This work shows a systematic study for AWH, including high-performance PCLG sorbent development, honeycomb structure optimization, water extraction verification under target conditions, and global water harvest potentials. They developed a super-high water capacity per unit volume and low-temperature-driven PCLG sorbent with 3.97 g/cm3 and 2.55 g/g water collected at 45 C temperature and 40% RH desorption performance; they designed a honeycomb optimized structure that was proven to improve 50% more water adsorption capacity than a flake structure. The water-harvesting experiments were performed under the target’s working conditions for the device. Based on one-sun desorption experiments, the device can achieve water production of 3.8 kg/m2 under the tested humid conditions (25 C, 75% RH) and 1.08 kg/m2 under the desert conditions (30 C, 30% RH). Based on the natural-sunlight experiment with an average of 0.73 kWm–2 solar intensity, 2.9 L/m2 /day water harvesting mass was obtained by this PCLG-based AWH device under 35 C condensing temperature.

This work has practical solid application value due to its high-efficient, low-cost, and scalable advantages to alleviate the world’s thirst. This research is sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NO.52006145), Shanghai Sailing Program (NO.20YF1431500), and Shanghai Morning Light Project (NO.19CG54).

Cell Reports Physical Science is a premium open access journal from Cell Press, which showcases high-quality, cutting-edge research from across the physical sciences.

Link to the paper: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrp.2022.100954

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