Start Scientists develop a molecule that allows you to store solar energy for up to 18 years

Scientists develop a molecule that allows you to store solar energy for up to 18 years

April 13, 2022 11:36 am to 11:36 am
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Scientists - solar energy - energy storage - solar technology
Scientists testing the molecule – Photo: Thor Balkhed for Linköpings Universitet

Scientists at the Swedish Chalmers University of Technology have developed a solar energy storage system that can store electricity for years using a liquid containing hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen.

A group of scientists from the Swedish Chalmers University of Technology has been developing solutions to the solar energy storage problem for about 10 years. Scientists have developed a liquid that, when exposed to light, can change its molecular structure, remaining in that state for years. Therefore, it is possible to store electrical energy at any time through simple reactions, making the development promising to power a wide range of devices.

Learn how the Scientists' energy storage system works

the fluid from energy storage Molecular Solar Thermal (MOST) is based on a combination of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen. When the liquid is illuminated, its molecular composition changes, causing it to become an isomer. Thus, the liquid is capable of storing solar energy, without its composition being altered, the molecular structure can be stored for up to 18 years.

To recover energy from the liquid, it must pass through a kind of catalyst. The stored solar energy is released in the form of heat, which powers a thermoelectric generator and generates electrical energy. The scientists' pilot plant can get about 1.3 W of energy from a cubic meter of liquid.

To be used commercially, this solar energy storage is not enough, however, future works will be developed so that the efficiency of the accumulation and transformation processes are improved. In the future, the scientists promise to focus on making sure that a liquid system for long-term energy storage can emerge on the market.

MIT scientists are also advancing energy storage technologies

Scientists at MIT last year developed a new kind of battery which promises to be innovative for the energy storage system for clean sources such as solar and wind energy.

The semi-solid flow cell uses a mixture that has dispersed particles of manganese dioxide with an additive that conducts electricity. This additive is called carbon black and allows the conversion of electrochemical electricity by reacting with other elements in aqueous suspension or on zinc plates, generating flow batteries with more reliable, durable and effective electricity retention systems than those produced today. .

How does the new MIT battery work?

According to the author of the study, Emre Gencer, the sustainable energy transition as a solar energy and wind power needs batteries that have different durations, that work even when there is no sun or wind. The zinc manganese battery is a great option, cheap and of good quality for these sources, being able to store energy for a day or more.

In the flow system, two electrolytes with negative and positive ions are pumped in separate tanks until they meet when passing through a membrane, called a stack.

To prove that their research is really viable, the researchers compared other cells with zinc manganese batteries. The analyzes were performed in periods of 8 hours, 1 day and 3 days in duration.

At intervals greater than 1 day, the battery exceeded the energy retention capacity compared to ordinary lithium-ion or vanadium redox flux cells. The battery managed to maintain its efficiency and low cost, even considering all the amounts spent on pumping the manganese slurry from the energy storage tank.

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