Solar Thermal Technology- the Solar Absorber

The use of solar thermal energy is being popularized all over the thermal world simply because it’s a great way to utilize free energy. Even though it is free, comes with no environmental hazards and in general is considered optimum, no one can deny the fact that solar thermal technology lacks in the area of efficient utilization of solar energy and extensive user testing is still required through The energy coming from sun was never fully utilized until now, as when a team of MIT and Masdar Institute researchers invented a device that can effectively change solar energy into heat.


The solar absorber is an efficient utilizing device in the sense that it has the ability to convert solar energy into heat in a much larger quantity as before and also with very low costs. The conversion of solar energy into heat is a fundamental principle of solar thermal technology and with the introduction of the solar absorber a lot of things might change. According to TieJun Zhang an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT this might very well be the breakthrough solar thermal technology needed. He states, “Our research team has developed a simple and cost-effective fabrication technique to create solar absorbers that can harness a greater share of the solar spectrum, thus increasing their efficiencies, while also maintaining low emission levels,” The intent of the Masdar Institute researchers is commendable in the realm of solar thermal energy because the sun acting as a free source of energy needed to be utilized more efficiently. Furthermore, professor Zhang claiming that their technology also has the ability to maintain low emission levels along with generating a greater share of the solar spectrum is of course a breakthrough in solar thermal technology.

Looking at the solar absorber we see that tiny holes with a diameter of less than 400 nanometer as present on its surface. The solar absorbing devices before this invention had a diameter of more than 170 nanometers, which means that researchers from NASA, MIT, Masdar, and collaborations tech firm have essentially invented a way to absorb much more energy and hence making the heat conversion process more effective. Interesting fact about the solar absorber is that can absorb 90% of all the wavelengths that reach the surface of earth, this has never happened before. Although solar absorbers who can absorb around 90% have been made before but the problem with previous solar absorbers was that they produced high level emissions or radiations.

So, the criterion of a good solar absorber isn’t just its absorbing ability, it also needs to be efficient in maintaining low levels of emissions. This is exactly what the invention does and the collaboration of MIT and Masdar further plans to make it a device that can be used for a good cause.