Umeå University

Advanced solar selective composite coating improved by carbon nanomaterials

  • Energy
  • Design & Modelling
  • Performance
  • Properties
  • Synthesis & Processing
Industrial project

Research question

Considering that close to 50 % of the global energy consumption is in the form of heating, further improvement and implementation of renewable thermal energy technologies, like solar thermal collectors, is essential. The key component of a solar thermal collector is the receiver, which is given high absorptance over the solar spectrum and low emittance over the infrared region with a solar selective coating. Commercially, coatings deposited with vacuum techniques are used, but high cost and complex manufacturing make them less ideal.

In this project we will develop a novel selective composite coating comprised of carbon nanomaterials and silicon dioxide deposited with a sonicating spray system. The carbon nanomaterials will be functionalized to facilitate spray coating from a water based dispersion without additives, making all materials used cheap, benign, and abundant. The use of spraying and the chosen materials will result in a cheap sustainable coating, deposited with a highly flexible method without compromising optical properties or thermal stability.

Sustainability aspects

The sustainability development goal (SDG) addressed by the project is SDG 7, Green materials for efficient technology and infrastructure to harvest, transport, store, and convert energy. The carbon nanomaterials and silicon dioxide used are highly abundant materials with small environmental foot-print, which will be implemented in solar thermal collectors, a sustainable technology for green energy production with enormous potential to replace fossil fuels considering that solely industrial process heat < 150°C accounts for 7 % of global energy consumption.

Expanding our view outside of the obvious reduction in CO2 emission, other environmental impacts like acidification, ozone layer depletion, eutrophication, etc. the negative effect of solar thermal energy is negligible compared to fossil fuels.


Erik Zäll


researcher photo

Umeå University

Thomas Wågberg


Explore projects under the Wise program

WISE drives the development of future materials science at the international forefront. The research should lead to the development of sustainable and efficient materials to solve some of today's major challenges, primary sustainability. On this page you can read more about our research projects.

Explore projects