|25 November 2016|

Japan

Japanese scientists have developed a nanofluid which could radically improve the efficiency rates of solar-powered water heating technologies.

More than two-thirds of energy is lost via current solar cell technology and while solar-powered water heaters are more efficient much more can be achieved.

The researchers from the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (WPI-MANA) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency wanted to find ways to retain more of the sun’s energy and with their new nanofluid – defined as a ‘liquid containing specially-designed nanoparticles that are capable of absorbing sunlight and transforming it into thermal energy in order to heat water directly’ they have discovered a way.

Satoshi Ishii and his team ‘have developed a new nanofluid containing titanium nitride (TiN) nanoparticles, which demonstrates high efficiency in heating water and generating water vapour’.

“The efficiency of the TiN nanofluid reached nearly 90%. Crucially, the TiN particles were not consumed during the process, meaning a TiN-based heating system could essentially be self-sustaining over time,” the team revealed in their research highlights published on the WPI-MANA website.