In a continued drive towards harnessing the sun as a source of energy, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology on Monday announced that they have developed a high performance solar absorber, making the use of solar thermal applications more efficient.

The solar absorber was developed with the partnership of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is able to absorb nearly 100 per cent of the sunlight’s energy with its ultrathin nanocomposite film made from silver and silica.

Professor TieJun Zhang, one of Masdar’s researchers involved on the project, said the team used microscopy tools to study the preliminary solar absorber design, which became the basis for the development of the nanocomposite film.

“Transmission electron microscopes enable us to see through the materials, beyond the surface and deep within the nanocomposite solar absorber.

“With this vision, we observed that traditional solar absorbers, thought to be made of smooth, continuous composite layers, were actually filled with tiny nano-particles of each composite element and large nano-particles on the top surface. We discovered that it is the presence of these topping nano-particles that make absorbers more efficient. This knowledge became the basis for development of our nanocomposite film,” he added.

Prof Zhang also said the technology was developed based on the needs of the UAE, and were made to address some of the problems being faced by solar energy production.

Professor Gang Chen from MIT, said the technology could feature in several different beneficial applications for the UAE.

“The technology we have demonstrated is particularly attractive for a hot-arid region, such as Abu Dhabi, with potential applications in waste water treatment, seawater desalination, and power generation,” he said. (GULF NEWS)