Although solar energy is promising for water purification, there is still a room for further improving the solar steam generation efficiency. Herein, an environmental energy-enhanced solar steam evaporator is fabricated by immersing a cellulose acetate fiber-based cigarette filter (CF) in an aqueous solution of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) followed by freeze-drying and decorating with MXene sheets. The presence of MXene is to absorb solar light and convert solar energy to thermal energy for efficient water evaporation, while the porous PVA network generated inside the pores of the filter during the freeze-drying process accommodates the dispersed MXene sheets and interconnects the CF and MXene. Because of the constructed PVA/MXene network inside the CF porous architecture and the hydrophilic feature of both MXene and PVA, the resultant MXene/PVA modified CF (MPCF) is highly hydrophilic and competent for rapid upward transfer of water. Interestingly, in addition to the normal energy input by the incident solar light, the large-area sidewall of MPCF gains thermal energy from the environment in the forms of heat convection and heat radiation to enhance the solar steam generation efficiency, resulting in an ultrahigh water evaporation rate of 3.38 kg m h with an outstanding evaporation efficiency of 132.9%.Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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