Volumetric solar heating of nanofluids for direct vapor generation

George Ni, Nenad Miljkovic, Hadi Ghasemi, Xiaopeng Huang, Svetlana V. Boriskina, Cheng Te Lin, Jianjian Wang, Yanfei Xu, Md Mahfuzur Rahman, Tie Jun Zhang, Gang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional solar-thermal receivers suffer from high surface temperatures, which increase heat losses to the surroundings. To improve performance, volumetric receivers based on nanoparticles suspended in liquid (nanofluids) have been studied as an approach to reduce surface losses by localizing high temperatures to the interior of the receiver. Here, we report measured vapor generation efficiencies of 69% at solar concentrations of 10. sun using graphitized carbon black, carbon black, and graphene suspended in water, representing a significant improvement in both transient and steady-state performance over previously reported results. To elucidate the vapor generation mechanism and validate our experimental results, we develop numerical and analytical heat transfer models that suggest that nanofluid heating and vapor generation occur due to classical global heating of the suspension fluid. This work demonstrates high nanofluid-assisted vapor generation efficiencies with potential applications in power generation, distillation, and sterilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-301
Number of pages12
JournalNano Energy
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Nanofluid
  • Nanoparticle
  • Solar energy
  • Steam generation
  • Vapor generation
  • Volumetric receiver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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