An integrated solar-driven system produces electricity with fresh water and crops in arid regions

Renyuan Li, Mengchun Wu, Sara Aleid, Chenlin Zhang, Wenbin Wang, Peng Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100781
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2022


  • alternative water resouces
  • arid agriculture
  • atmospheric water harvesting
  • decentralized approach
  • integrated water-electricity-crop co-production system
  • photovoltaic cooling
  • solar energy
  • sustainable development goals
  • water scarcity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemistry
  • General Energy
  • General Engineering


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