Volumetric solar heating and steam generation via gold nanofluids

Muhammad Amjad, Ghulam Raza, Yan Xin, Shahid Pervaiz, Jinliang Xu, Xiaoze Du, Dongsheng Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Volumetric solar absorption using nanofluids can minimize the thermal loss by trapping the light inside the fluid volume. A strong surface boiling with the underneath fluid still subcooled could have many interesting applications, whose mechanism is however still under strong debate. This work advanced our understanding on volumetric fluid heating by performing a novel experiment under a unique uniform solar heating setup at 280 Suns, with a particular focus on the steam production phenomenon using gold nanofluids. To take the temperature distribution into account, a new integration method was used to calculate the sensible heating contribution. The results showed that the photothermal conversion efficiency was enhanced significantly by gold nanofluids. A three-stage heating scenario was identified and during the first stage, most of the energy was absorbed by the surface fluid, resulting in rapid vapor generation with the underneath fluid still subcooled. The condensed vapor analysis showed no nanoparticle escaping even under vigorous boiling conditions. Such results reveal that nanoparticle enabled volumetric solar heating could have many promising applications including clean water production in arid areas where abundant solar energy is available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-400
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Direct absorption
  • Evaporation
  • Nanofluid
  • Photothermal conversion
  • Solar energy
  • Steam production


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