Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2022, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (1): 2101020.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB202101020

Special Issue: Graphene: Functions and Applications

• PERSPECTIVE • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Progress in 3D-Graphene Assemblies Preparation for Solar-Thermal Steam Generation and Water Treatment

Qing Chen1,2,3, Jian Zhao1, Huhu Cheng2,3,*(), Liangti Qu2,3,*()   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
    2 Key Laboratory of Organic Optoelectronics & Molecular Engineering, Ministry of Education, Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
    3 State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • Received:2021-01-11 Accepted:2021-03-09 Published:2021-03-12
  • Contact: Huhu Cheng,Liangti Qu;
  • About author:Liangti Qu, Email:
    Huhu Cheng, Email:
  • Supported by:
    the National Key R & D Program of China(2016YFA0200200);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(22035005);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(52073159);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(52022051);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(22075165);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(52090034);the Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program(2019Z08QCX08);the NSFC-STINT(21911530143);the State Key Laboratory of Tribology(SKLT2021B03);the Tsinghua-Foshan Innovation Special Fund(2018THFS0412);the Institute for Guo Qiang, Tsinghua University(2019GQG1025)


Currently, water shortage is a globally prevalent issue, with approximately 1.5 billion people in over 80 countries in the world are facing a shortage of fresh water. Among them, 300 million people in 26 countries face daily water shortages. It is estimated that by 2025, billions of people will suffer due water shortage. The desalination of seawater and other water treatment technologies have been widely investigated to solve this problem. Recently, a lot of study have been carried out on the production of clean water via solar evaporation with new materials and technologies. Under the condition of illumination, the light-absorbing material converts solar energy directly into heat energy to realize rapid and large amount of water evaporation, after condensation, clean water was obtained. It is important that this technology can effectively remove salt, bacteria, and other pollutants from raw water, and the quality of the obtained water fully meets the drinking water quality standard set by the World Health Organization. This is an efficient, green, and low-cost method for solving the shortage of water resources. Three-dimensional (3D) graphene materials have excellent physical and chemical properties, high photothermal conversion efficiency, high solar absorption rate, rich internal micro- and nano-channels, good water transmission channels, and large surface water evaporation area; in addition, they can achieve an ultra-high water evaporation rate under solar irradiation. These properties are highly significant in the research and practical applications of photothermal water treatment. In this study, the research progress of 3D-graphene is discussed with regard to the following three aspects. 1) The main preparation method of 3D-graphene was investigated. The advantages and disadvantages of different preparation methods, such as self-assembly, template, and chemical vapor deposition methods were summarized and compared. It can provide reference for readers to choose the preparation method of 3D-graphene; 2) The basic principle of photothermal water evaporation is introduced in detail. The research progress of photothermal water evaporation was summarized based on pure graphene, graphene/polymer composites, and graphene/metal oxide composites. The evaporation properties of different materials were compared. The development, fabrication, and performance of small photothermal conversion devices are briefly introduced; 3) The water treatment of graphene photothermal water evaporation was investigated, and its limitations were analyzed and summarized. Consequently, the challenges faced by photothermal evaporation in theoretical research and the problems to be solved in practical production applications are finally prospected. This review is a valuable reference for the development of 3D-graphene materials and solar-thermal steam generation and water treatment.

Key words: Graphene, Three-dimensional structure, Solar-thermal conversion, Water evaporation, Water treatment


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