Recent mining tailing dam disasters highlight the need for faster evaporation techniques. The only alternatives are slow expensive evaporators with high-energy requirements. Slow moving floods create health risks from sewage. Slow floods could be mitigated by faster evaporation rates.
There is potential to develop bio-degradable products that can be aero-sprayed over large areas or floated out from the edges of dams. Reusable products could be used for water purification.
The photo-thermal materials are floated on water surfaces with the upper surface located above the water surface. Due to capillary force, water is transported from the water body to the surface of the photo-thermal materials and form a thin layer. Under the irradiation of solar light the photo-thermal materials heat the thin water layer on the surface but not the bulk of the water, leading to much higher energy efficiency.
UniSA Ventures is seeking international industry partners in the fields of tailings management, waste water purification, or emergency flood mitigation with the object of licensing the technology.