Aquaneers Inc. has developed a novel nanotechnology- enabled Photothermal Solar Cell for highly efficient conversion of sunlight into heat. The cell utilizes arrays of plasmonic nanorods manufactured on the surface of flexible substrate materials by the company’s patented process to create an enhanced aqueous-based solar converter. The use of plasmonic nanorods leads to high- efficiency and improved photothermal device capabilities. Plasmonic solar converters offer broader band solar absorption, greater heat generation, higher operating temperatures, and more enhanced steam generation than conventional absorber based devices. Aquaneers is exploring commercial applications in water heating, steam generation, desalination (water purification), chemical separations, and more.
Aquaneers sees applications of Plasmonic Ribbon in the solar generation of hot water and steam. Hot water heating in residential and commercial buildings accounts for 3.5% of total domestic energy consumption and represents an area with great potential for market penetration and impact. It is estimated by NREL that overall US energy demand could be cut by 1% if all applicable building rooftops were equipped with solar thermal hot water systems. Solar Thermal technologies are a global growth market, projected to increase from nearly $19.8 billion in 2014 to about $42.6 billion in 2019.
The Solar Thermal technologies market includes Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems that operate at high temperatures (300-600 C and above) and low temperature (< 40 C) “unglazed” systems commonly used to heat swimming pools. Aquaneers sees opportunity at intermediate operating temperatures in the range of 50-300 C that are often achieved using “flat plate”, and “evacuated tube” collector technologies or low power CSP. Of these, the evacuated tube solar collector has the highest efficiencies and operating temperatures (>100 C above ambient), and can perform well at low incident radiation levels. Evacuated tubes can produce hot water or steam, depending on the design and configuration thus making it a good fit for Aquaneers’ novel technology. Aquaneers has designed an Evacuated tube solar device to work with its Plasmonic Ribbon as the transducer allowing for efficient hot water or steam generation using sunlight.
Desalination, the process of extracting salt and other minerals from seawater or brackish water to produce potable water, is a global industry valued at $27 Billion/year in 2015 and forecast to exceed $52 Billion/year by 2020. It is a high-growth industry. However, the price of desalination is largely determined by local energy costs, which vary greatly from place to place. The logistical burden in supplying potable water to people distributed in remote locations, coastal areas and islands, and those lacking a centralized fresh-water infrastructure, is compounded by the energy cost, as both water and fuel often must be delivered. Aquaneers Solar Desalinator has a modular design and can provide potable water on-site with no external fuel requirements, reducing external needs and making local communities more secure and self-sufficient. Aquaneers initial product will compete for market share in the portable or mobile water desalination device space that is valued at over $1 Billion/year. Aquaneers value proposition lies in eliminating the external power/fuel requirement from the desalination process by using solar power. Pure water can be produced when energy is available and stored for later use in a product designed to produce 100-1000 liters/day in the base unit at a cost of under $200.
Joe is a physicist (PhD, MIT) and entrepreneur with over 16 years of experience in commercial nanotechnology R&D. He is Aquaneers' CEO, providing both the scientific vision to successfully deploy our technology and the business acumen to launch a sustainable company.JHabib@Aquaneersinc.com
Avi is a professor of Chemical and Biological engineering at NYU Tandon with over 185 peer-reviewed publications and 7 patents. He is a pioneer in nanotechnology and serves as Aquaneers CTO. Avi brings experience and keen insight to bear when solving the scientific challenges that arise in bringing solar desalination technology to fruition.AUlman@Aquaneersinc.com
Richard began solar desalination research during his bachelor's program. An active member of NYU’s start-up and green communities, his passion for the promise of truly clean water led to the formation of Aquaneers. Now, as Aquaneers heads towards commercialization, he integrates customer needs into product design.Rday@Aquaneersinc.com