An integrated #solar-driven system produces electricity with fresh #water and crops in arid regions — Cell Reports Physical Science

An illustration of solar panels pulling water vapor from the air to grow crops | Credit: Renyuan Li/KAUST

Click the link to read the article on the Cell Reports Physical Science website (Renyuan Li, Mengchun Wu, Sara Aleid, Chenlin Zhang, Wenbin Wang, and Peng Wang):


  • Recycle waste heat from PV panels to produce fresh water from the atmosphere
  • Cool down PV panel and increase its electricity generation performance
  • Integrated system (WEC2P) produces electricity with fresh water and crops
  • Application is with minimal geological constrain
  • Summary

    Stable supplies of water, energy, and food are the most essential factors to universal achievements of the United Nation’s Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This work reports a self-sustained and solar-driven, integrated water-electricity-crop co-production system (WEC2P). The design of WEC2P is based on the atmospheric water adsorption-desorption cycle (1) to generate cooling power for photovoltaic (PV) cells to increase their electricity generation performance or (2) to sustainably produce fresh water from atmospheric water vapor to support crop growth. During the 3-month-long outdoor field test, the WEC2P successfully reduced the temperature of PV panels by up to 17°C and increased their electricity generation by up to 9.9% in the PV cooling mode. Meanwhile, it produced water to irrigate crops (i.e., water spinach) hosted in an integrated plant-growing unit in Saudi Arabia, with a crop surviving rate of 95%. Thereby, WEC2P may represent a meaningful contribution to the global water-energy-food nexus.

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