Available Technologies: Mining and Materials

A highly efficient low cost solar-steam generation system

A floating photo-thermal material that can generate steam on its upper surface with greater than 90% solar energy conversion efficiency. This innovation could provide cheap clean drinkingwater, and has potential for increasing evaporation rates where water needs to be removed quickly such as slow moving floods or tailing dams.


  • High efficiency solar evaporation
  • High efficiency steam production
  • Either biodegradable or reusable product lines
  • Up to 10 litres of water per hour per meter squared (nearly 1cm depth reduction per hour)


Recent mining tailing dam disasters highlight the need for faster evaporation techniques. The only alternatives are slow expensive evaporators with high-energy requirements. Slow moving floods create health risks from sewage. Slow floods could be mitigated by faster evaporation rates.

Potential Markets

There is potential to develop bio-degradable products that can be aero-sprayed over large areas or floated out from the edges of dams. Reusable products could be used for water purification.

A highly efficient low cost solar-steam generation system


The photo-thermal materials are floated on water surfaces with the upper surface located above the water surface. Due to capillary force, water is transported from the water body to the surface of the photo-thermal materials and form a thin layer. Under the irradiation of solar light the photo-thermal materials heat the thin water layer on the surface but not the bulk of the water, leading to much higher energy efficiency.

Partnering Opportunities

UniSA Ventures is seeking international industry partners in the fields of tailings management, waste water purification, or emergency flood mitigation with the object of licensing the technology.


Commercial lead