It has been presented a revolutionary technology that uses special nanoparticles to generate steam from water and solar energy. The new method for creating “solar steam” is so effective that it can even produce steam from water so cold that its temperature is very close to the freezing point.


Technology has an overall efficiency of 24 percent. By way of comparison, the photovoltaic panels typically have an efficiency of about 15 percent. However, the stunt team that created the new technology, the Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP), attached to Rice University in Houston, Texas, estimated that the first uses of the new technology will not be for generate electricity but for the purification of water in developing countries.

The efficiency of solar steam generation from the water is due to the nanoparticles capture sunlight to produce heat. When submerged in water and exposed to sunlight, the particles are heated so rapidly that the water vaporize almost instantly, thus generating steam.

The team of researchers Naomi Halas (LANP director) and Oara Neumann believes feasible to increase the efficiency of the new technology as the technology is refined.

The steam is one of the most used industrial fluids world. Approximately 90 percent of the electricity is produced by steam. In addition, steam is also used to sterilize surgical instruments and hospital waste, and to prepare food and purify water.

The efficiency of solar steam could allow even be cheap produce on a small scale, without large industrial installations.

The inhabitants of developing countries will be the first to see the benefits of solar steam. A group of Rice University has manufactured a steam autoclave works with solar and which is able to sterilize medical devices that are not in clinical electricity.

Naomi Halas, chemistry, physics, electronics and computer engineering, and biomedical engineering, is among the world’s most cited chemists in technical articles. She directs the laboratory specializes in developing and studying particles with light activated. One of the creations of Halas, gold nanoshells, is already being tested in several clinical trials to evaluate its potential use as a cancer treatment.