Solar evaporation for simultaneous steam and power generation
The rapid development of photothermal materials and their integrated systems has fostered recent technology breakthroughs in solar evaporation for both steam and power generation. Here, we discuss this new and emerging area that aims to directly couple photothermal materials and solar steam devices towards clean water and electricity generation. The photothermal conversion physics and engineering strategies of solar absorbers were first described. The electricity generation mechanisms to be covered include triboelectric, pyroelectric, piezoelectric, thermoelectric, thermal-electrochemical and salinity gradient effects. The diverse systems were then systematically scrutinized and discussed towards better harvesting and conversion of solar energy. The operation principles were described and the performance requirements were elaborated together with the advantages and the limitations. Comparisons of the solar evaporation and electric performances were additionally made for such developed systems. Finally, the future research directions of the systems were highlighted, and the potentials for new applications and hybrid approaches in the development of a Synergy City were outlined.