Efficient solar-thermal energy conversion with surfactant-free Cu-oxide nanofluids

Hussein Sayed Moghaieb, Dilli Babu Padmanaban, Praveen Kumar, Atta Ul Haq, Chiranjeevi Maddi, Ruairi McGlynn, Miryam Arredondo, Harjit Singh, Paul Maguire, Davide Mariotti

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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High-specification nanofluids can potentially enable cost-effective and highly efficient solar-to-thermal energy conversion. However, their implementation is adversely affected by poor absorption spectral range and stability challenges of the nanoparticles. Here we demonstrate the synthesis, full characterization and application of Cu-oxide nanoparticles with high optical absorption and long-term stability over many months. The synthesis method, based on a hybrid plasma-liquid non-equilibrium electrochemical process, ensures a very limited environmental impact as it relies on a solid metal precursor while avoiding the use of additional chemicals such as surfactants and other reducing agents. We further investigate the fundamental links between the nanofluid performance and the material and optical properties and produce a theoretical model to determine the energy conversion efficiency. The results show that nanofluids produced with our Cu-oxide nanoparticles can achieve exceptional solar thermal conversion efficiencies close to ∼90% and can provide a viable solution for an efficient solar thermal conversion technology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108112
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages9
JournalNano Energy
Issue number108
Early online date21 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by EPSRC (award no. EP/M024938/1 , EP/V055232/1 , EP/R008841/1 ). We would like to thank Dr Shilling and Dr McFarland for carrying out XRD measurements.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Solar energy harvesting
  • Solar thermal energy conversion
  • Direct absorption solar collectors
  • Solar nanofluids
  • Surfactant-free nanomaterials synthesis
  • Plasma-induced non-equilibrium electrochemistry


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