Recycled waste black polyurethane sponges for solar vapor generation and distillation

Sainan Ma, Chun Pang Chiu, Yujiao Zhu, Chun Yin Tang, Hui Long, Wayesh Qarony, Xinhua Zhao, Xuming Zhang, Wai Hung Lo, Yuen Hong Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing landfill cost and air-pollutions have made it a great urgent to develop the effective applications of waste polyurethane sponge. Recently, solar vapor generation has attracted extensive attentions, since energy shortage and water scarcity along with water pollution are becoming alarming global issues to be addressed. The solar vapor generation relies on the performance of the solar absorbers which convert the solar energy into heat for the vaporization process. A low cost, efficient and durable solar absorber is vital for the development of solar vapor generation. Here, we report that the recycled self-floating black polyurethane sponges are very promising solar absorber materials. which can efficiently generate water vapor after a simple one-step hydrophilic treatment with dopamine hydrochloride. The evaporating rate was more than 3.5 times higher compared to that of the existing natural evaporation process, exhibiting an evaporation efficiency of above 50%. Furthermore, this black polyurethane sponge can also drive solar ethanol distillation, yielding up to 25 wt% concentration promotion under each distillation cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2017


  • Black sponge
  • Heat localization
  • Hydrophilic
  • Recycled
  • Solar distillation
  • Solar vapor generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Energy
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Recycled waste black polyurethane sponges for solar vapor generation and distillation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Silver medal

    Tsang, Yuen Hong (Recipient), 7 Dec 2018

    Prize: Prize (research)

Cite this