In Japan, a team at the University of Tsukuba introduced a new procedure of harvesting energy and organic molecules from algae using nanoporous graphene and porous graphene foams. By developing a reusable system that can evaporate water at high rate without the need for centrifugation or squeezing. This research has a great potential for the application of producing cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient biofuels, vitamins, and chemicals. They introduced a new method for removing water from algae biomass that does not damage the fragile compounds to be harvested. In contrast with previous methods which rely on mechanical centrifugation or squeezing, while this approach uses solar irradiation and reusable, nanostructured support materials. The fabrication of hierarchically-structured nanoporous graphene and porous graphene foams creates tiny channels for water to be pulled upwards from deep inside the sample.
This novel developed material protects the biomass from overheating while capturing more of the sun’s energy to evaporate the water.