Steam condensation is key to the worldwide production of electricity and clean water: It is part of the power cycle that drives 85 percent of all electricity-generating plants and about half of all desalination plants globally, according to the United Nations and International Energy Agency. So anything that improves the efficiency of this process could have enormous impact on global energy use. Now, a team of researchers at MIT says they have found a way to do just that.
It has been known for years that making steam-condenser surfaces hydrophobic — that is, getting them to repel water — could improve the efficiency of condensation by causing the water to quickly form droplets. But most hydrophobic materials have limited durability, especially in steamy industrial settings. The new approach to coating condenser surfaces should overcome that problem, the MIT researchers say. The findings are reported this week in the journal Advanced Materials by MIT professors Karen Gleason and Kripa Varanasi, graduate student Adam Paxson and postdoc Jose Yagüe.
Continue reading the article on MIT News.