Versatile Janus Composite Nonwoven Solar Absorbers with Salt Resistance for Efficient Wastewater Purification and Desalination

Shuangjie Sun, Yameng Wang, Binbin Sun, Feifei Zhang, Qing Xu, Hao Yang Mi, Heng Li, Xiaoming Tao, Zhanhu Guo, Chuntai Liu, Changyu Shen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Solar steam generation is an efficient way of harvesting solar energy for water purification. Developing a versatile solar absorber with salt resistance and the capability to purify an oil-in-water emulsion is a grand challenge. Herein, a polypropylene (PP) nonwoven fabric-based photothermal absorber is fabricated by the combination of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), polypyrrole (PPy), and a fluorinated hydrophobic coating in a layer-by-layer approach. The specially designed architecture displays a hierarchical microstructure and Janus wetting properties, facilitating solar absorption and heat generation on the evaporation surface, and can effectively prevent salt crystallization. The water layer formed on the superhydrophilic/underwater superoleophobic bottom surface could repel oil droplets and form a channel to advect concentrated salt back into bulk water, which enabled high purity separation of an oil-in-water emulsion and continuous desalinization of seawater without the reduction of the evaporation rate. As a result, the solar absorber can achieve a remarkable evaporation rate of 1.61 kg m-2 h-1 and an energy efficiency of 91.2% under 1 sun irradiation and shows extraordinary performance in the purification of contaminated wastewater (over 99.8% purity). The strategy proposed provides a pathway for developing versatile high-performance solar absorbers for the sustainable treatment of saline water, wastewater, and oil-containing water.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • composite nonwoven fabric
  • desalination
  • oil-in-water emulsion
  • salt resistance
  • solar steam generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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