By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 19 April 2022 • 23:26
Solar breakthrough allows energy to be stored for more than 15 years
A Dutch-Chinese design team looking for a small, simple way of storing solar energy for the market of smaller electronics have engineered a molecule that changes shape when it comes into contact with sunlight, rearranging carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen, to form an isomer.
The isomer is an energy-rich molecule with a different configuration that holds its shape when immersed in liquid.
Research Leader Kasper Moth-Poulsen, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University, told Euronews: “This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy.
“It means that we can use solar energy to produce electricity regardless of weather, time of day, season, or geographical location.”
The technology works on the basis that as matter changes form energy is released and usually through heat. With this technology scientists harness that change to create a matter that when converted back again releases the energy stored within.
That method is behind the name of the technology “Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage Systems.”
Researcher Zhihang Wang from Chalmers University of Technology said: “The generator is an ultra-thin chip that could be integrated into electronics such as headphones, smart watches and telephones.
“So far, we have only generated small amounts of electricity, but the new results show that the concept really works. It looks very promising.”
The concept is used in many process around the world but none have taken it to this level or managed to use the technology for this purpose.
There is extreme excitement over the solar breakthrough within the scientific community, with matter that allows energy to be stored for more than 15 years completing changing the production model currently in use through the world.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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