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Solar Energy Converted To Liquid; Store And Transport Whenever Needed

By Elon A. | Mar 23, 2017 02:54 AM EDT

A team of researchers has demonstrated a new efficient way for the solar energy storage to a chemical liquid. The team established the stored energy to be transported and released as heat whenever it is needed.

As many would know the sun is the energy of the future. Some are already using solar panels to generate electricity. But, one challenge for the researchers is that it is somehow difficult to store the solar energy and deliver the energy on demand.

Now, a team of researchers coming from the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, has showcased the possibility to convert the solar energy directly into the energy that stored in the bonds of chemical fluid also known as a molecular thermal system. The liquid chemical then makes it possible to store and transport the stored energy and discharge it when needed. 

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As follows, the process is based on the organic compound norbornadiene. Once it is exposed to light, it converts into quadricyclane. The study is currently presented on the cover of the scientific journal Energy and Environmental Science, according to Phys.Org.

The research leader, Professor Kasper Moth-Poulsen shared that "The technique means that we can store the solar energy in chemical bonds and release the energy as heat whenever we need it. Combining the chemical energy storage with water heating solar panels enables a conversion of more than 80 percent of the incoming sunlight."

The Science Daily reported that the project was proposed six years ago at Chalmers. The team then contributed to a first conceptual demonstration in 2013.

During those times, the solar energy conversion efficiency was 0.01 percent and the expensive element called ruthenium has its major role in the compound. Four years later, the system has stored 1.1 percent of the incoming sunlight an inherent chemical energy. Also, the experts replaced ruthenium with cheaper carbon-based elements.

In line, Moth-Poulsen added that "We saw an opportunity to develop molecules that make the process much more efficient. At the same time, we are demonstrating a robust system that can sustain more than 140 energy storage and release cycles with negligible degradation."

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