Direcionando fótons solares para provisão sustentável de comida, energia, e água

sábado, junho 17, 2017

Directing solar photons to sustainably meet food, energy, and water needs

Emre Gençer, Caleb Miskin, Xingshu Sun, M. Ryyan Khan, Peter Bermel, M. Ashraf Alam & Rakesh Agrawal

Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 3133 (2017)

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Chemical engineering Electrical and electronic engineering Energy harvesting Solar energy

Received: 20 December 2016 Accepted: 27 April 2017

Published online: 09 June 2017

Fig. 3: Conceptual implementation of SUFEWS in which photons are managed efficiently over crop/pasture land to simultaneously and harmoniously produce FEW products in a sustainable future for a Full Earth. (Figure credit: Pamela Burroff-Murr, Purdue University). 


As we approach a “Full Earth” of over ten billion people within the next century, unprecedented demands will be placed on food, energy and water (FEW) supplies. The grand challenge before us is to sustainably meet humanity’s FEW needs using scarcer resources. To overcome this challenge, we propose the utilization of the entire solar spectrum by redirecting solar photons to maximize FEW production from a given land area. We present novel solar spectrum unbundling FEW systems (SUFEWS), which can meet FEW needs locally while reducing the overall environmental impact of meeting these needs. The ability to meet FEW needs locally is critical, as significant population growth is expected in less-developed areas of the world. The proposed system presents a solution to harness the same amount of solar products (crops, electricity, and purified water) that could otherwise require ~60% more land if SUFEWS were not used—a major step for Full Earth preparedness.


The authors thank Mark Koeper, Ryan Ellis, Pamela Burroff-Murr, and our agricultural collaborators for valuable inputs. Research was supported as part of the Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels (C3Bio), an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Award DE-SC0000997, and Award DE-EE0004946 (PVMI Bay Area PV Consortium) and the National Science Foundation, under Solar Economy Integrative Education and Research Traineeship Program (IGERT) Grant 0903670-DGE and CAREER: Thermophotonics for Efficient Harvesting of Waste Heat as Electricity, Grant EEC1454315.

Author information


Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA

Emre Gençer, Caleb Miskin & Rakesh Agrawal

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA

Xingshu Sun, M. Ryyan Khan, Peter Bermel & M. Ashraf Alam


E.G., C.M. and R.A. designed research; E.G. and R.A. performed all systems calculations and MSF desalination simulations; X.S., M.R.K. and M.A.A. calculated maximum PV energy conversion efficiencies; P.B. calculated optimal operating temperatures; E.G., C.M., M.A.A., P.B. and R.A. analyzed data; E.G., C.M. and R.A. wrote the manuscript, all authors reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript. R.A. directed the overall research.

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rakesh Agrawal.

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