Scientists Find A New Energy Storage System Can Store Solar Energy For 18 Years
According to a news release, scientists at Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology have developed a new energy storage system can store solar energy for 18 years. The Chalmers team has shown that their Molecular Solar Thermal System (MOST) can create power on demand with the support of experts from China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University by hooking up the device to a thermoelectric generator.
More than a decade of research and development has led the Chalmers team to the conclusion that their technique might one day be used to charge low-power electronic gadgets.Carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen molecules with unique structures were used to create the system.
When exposed to light, the atoms inside the molecules rearrange, producing an isomer that is both energy-rich and liquid-storable. Researchers claim their device can effectively store energy in this liquid state for up to 18 years. The energy is then released as heat through a specific catalyst that returns the molecules to their original state.
The results of this Leverhulme Trust-funded study may be found in an article titled "Long-Term Solar Energy Storage under Ambient Conditions in a MOF-Based Solid-Solid Phase Change Material," which appeared in the journal Chemistry of Materials.
This Can Store Solar Energy For 2 Decades | New Invention
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Researchers at Lancaster University have found a crystalline material that can be used to collect energy from the sun. The heat may be released whenever it is needed, even after being kept at room temperature for many months. With more research and development, these materials show promise as a way to collect solar energy in the summer and store it so that it can be used in the winter, when there is less solar energy available.
This would be very useful as a green alternative to traditional heating in homes and businesses, as well as in off-grid systems and other isolated areas. As an additional use, it may be manufactured as a thin coating and put on the outside of buildings or used on the windscreens of automobiles to de-ice the glass on chilly winter mornings.
The "metal-organic framework" concept is the basis for this substance (MOF). These are three-dimensional structures formed by a network of metal ions connected by carbon-based molecules. MOFs are porous, which means they can hold other small molecules inside their structures to make composite materials. This is just one of their many useful qualities.
The Lancaster group set out to investigate the potential energy-storage applications of a MOF composite called "DMOF1," which had been created by a different group of researchers at Kyoto University in Japan. Light-absorbing azobenzene molecules were packed inside the MOF pores. These molecules are photoswitches, a "molecular machine" that alters its form in response to an applied stimulus like light or heat.
The azobenzene molecules tested within the MOF pores underwent a shape shift to a stretched form after being subjected to UV light by the researchers. This kind of energy storage is analogous to the potential energy stored in a coiled spring. It is very important that the tiny MOF pores hold the stretched-out azobenzene molecules in place, since this is how the potential energy can be kept for a long time at room temperature.
These first results show that the idea works and pave the way for more research into other porous materials that may also be able to store energy using the idea of restricted photoswitches.
Our methodology suggests that there are a lot of methods to attempt to optimize these materials, either by modifying the photoswitch itself or the porous host framework.
- Dr. Nathan Halcovitch
Crystalline materials with photoswitch molecules may also find use in data storage, since their ordered organization in the crystal structure makes it possible to switch them individually with a highly focused light source, much like the way that a CD or DVD stores information. Photoswitches also show promise as a means of medication delivery since pharmaceuticals might be stored inside a substance and released on demand within the body in response to a stimulus such as light or heat.
Though the findings were encouraging for the material's potential to store energy for extended periods of time, the energy density was low. The next step is to investigate other MOF structures and other kinds of crystalline materials that have the ability to store energy in larger quantities.
Crystalline materials may absorb sunlight because of their unique characteristics. The heat may be released whenever it is needed, even after being kept for many months at normal temperature. With further research and development, these materials show promising promise as a means of absorbing solar energy in the summer and storing it for use in the winter, when solar energy is in less supply.