Constructing A Solar Evaporator by Stacking Exhausted Wood Sponges for Freshwater Generation and Fertilizer Recovery

Meng Li, Mengwen Xu, Haotian Wang, Sichen Liu, Yumeng Xiao, Lidong Wang, Tony D. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Solar water evaporation is an efficient and sustainable technology. To reduce energy consumption and improve cost efficiency, the surface modification of wood sponge by polypyrrole-glutathione (PGWS) was achieved using an in-situ synthetic method. The PGWS exhibits excellent adsorption efficiency for Hg(II) ions with adsorption capacity of 330.8 mg g−1 at 25 °C. Following Hg(II) absorption, the PGWS could be upcycled for solar steam generation. A stackable device was constructed by placing two wood sponges under a Hg(II) saturated PGWS [PGWS-Hg(II)], this system exhibited the highest water evaporation rate of 2.14 kg m−2 h−1 under 1 kW m−2. Moreover, collecting paper was inserted between the stacked PGWS-Hg(II) and wood sponge for the collection of salts. As such salt can be successfully collected from simulated fertilizer plant effluent and then used as a nutrient for growing plants using a hydroponic system. The facile design of stackable evaporation provides an opportunity for wastewater utilization by harvesting solar energy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202300426
Issue number18
Early online date21 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
.This research is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21607044), and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2017YFC0210201), the Natural Science Foundation of Hebei Province (No. E2016502096) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2021MS102 and No. 2023MS146). T.D.J. wishes to thank the Open Research Fund of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Henan Normal University for support (2020ZD01)

Data Availability Statement
The data that support the findings of this study are available in the supplementary material of this article.


  • adsorption
  • biomass
  • environmental remediation
  • resource reutilization
  • solar steam generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Energy(all)


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