Electrostatic self-assembly cellulose nanofibers/MXene/nickel chains for highly stable and efficient seawater evaporation and purification

Shuai Yang, Cai Shi, Keqi Qu, Zhe Sun, Handong Li, Ben B. Xu, Zhanhua Huang*, Zhanhu Guo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Seawater evaporation and purification powered by solar energy are considered as a promising approach to alleviate the global freshwater crisis, and the development of photothermal materials with high efficiency is imminent. In this study, cellulose nanofiber (CNF)/MXene/Ni chain (CMN) aerogels were successfully synthesized by electrostatic force and hydrogen bond interaction force. CMN 10 achieved a favorable evaporation rate as high as 1.85 kg m −2 h −1 in pure water, and the corresponding evaporation efficiency could be up to 96.04%. Even if it is applied to seawater with multiple interference factors, its evaporation rate can still be 1.81 kg m −2 h −1. The superior seawater evaporation activity origins from the promoted separation of photoexcited charges and photothermal conversion by the synergy of Ni chain and MXene, as well as the water transport channel supported by the 3D structure frame of CNF. Most importantly, CMN aerogel can maintain water vapor evaporation rates above 1.73 kg m −2 h −1 under extreme conditions such as acidic (pH 2) and alkaline (pH 12) conditions. In addition, various major ions, heavy metals and organic pollutants in seawater can be rejected by CMN 10 during desalination, and the rejection rates can reach more than 99.69%, ensuring the purity of water resources after treatment. This work shows the great potential of CMN aerogel as a high-efficiency solar evaporator and low-cost photothermal conversion material. Graphical abstract: Cellulose nanofiber (CNF)/MXene/Ni chain (CMN) aerogels demonstrated high evaporation of water from sea water. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2063-2074
Number of pages12
JournalCarbon Letters
Issue number7
Early online date12 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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