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Scientists raise solar absorber efficiency using nanotechnology

Reported from CSPPLAZA: Researchers at the United Arab Emirates’ Masdar Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have jointly developed a new high-performance solar absorber which could lower the cost of CSP generation, the Masdar Institute said in a statement.

The new absorber uses an ultrathin nano-composite film made of silver and silica, topped with silver nanoparticles, to absorb nearly 100% of sunlight energy from the ultraviolet and visible portions of the solar spectrum, the Institute said.

Advanced microscopy showed traditional solar absorbers were filled with tiny nano-particles of each composite element and large nano-particles on the top surface. Further studies showed the top layers of nano-particles make absorbers more efficient and the scientists used this knowledge to build the nano-composite film.

The researchers worked with engineers at the 100 MW Shams 1 parabolic trough plant in Abu Dhabi to develop a desert-specific product.

“The technology we have demonstrated is particularly attractive for hot-arid regions, such as Abu Dhabi, with potential applications in waste water treatment, seawater desalination, and power generation,” Professor Gang Chen of MIT, said.

                       CSP cost sensitivity to Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI)

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Source: International Renewable Energy Agency (2016)

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