Solar power is rapidly becoming a viable and sustainable energy source, thanks to recent scientific breakthroughs that have made it possible to store solar energy for extended periods of time.
One such breakthrough came in 2017, when a team of researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, developed a revolutionary energy storage system called ‘MOST’ (Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage Systems).
This system can accumulate and store solar energy for 18 years and release heat when necessary.
How the MOST Energy Storage System Works
The MOST system utilizes a specially designed molecule of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen. This molecule changes shape when it comes into contact with sunlight, creating an ‘energy-rich isomer’.
This isomer can then be stored in liquid form for later use and can be released using a catalyst when needed.
Using this technology means solar energy can be captured and stored, then release heat without depending on weather, time of day, season, or geographical location; that’s what the research leader, Kasper Moth-Poulsen Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers explains.
Now, the researchers have taken the system to the next level by connecting it to a thermoelectric generator. This allows for producing electricity from the stored solar energy, which is a significant advancement, as it could pave the way for self-charging electronics that use stored solar energy on demand.
In addition, the researchers have now integrated the system with an ultra-thin chip that can turn stored solar energy into electricity. This chip could be easily integrated into everyday electronics such as smartphones, headphones, and smartwatches.
Major Benefit to The Environment
One of the significant benefits of this system is that it is closed and circular, meaning that it operates without causing CO2 emissions. This makes it a great candidate for use in renewable energy systems.
This technology can potentially replace batteries and solar cells and revolutionize how we use the sun’s energy.
While this breakthrough is undoubtedly exciting, the researchers caution that it will take time for the technology to be fully integrated into our lives.
More Research Needed
There is still much research and development to be completed before we see solar-powered electronics as a regular part of our daily routines.
It’s still a new area of research, and more studies need to be done before being able to apply it on a large scale; many other researchers in different countries are also doing it to find the best and most efficient solutions possible.
More about the research and the scientific article can be found here.
This article was published at Nature of Home.com.