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Scientists develop "liquid fuel" to store solar energy up to 18 years – technology

Last Updated on January 26, 2019 09:58

Liquid – solar thermal fuel is pumped through transparent tubes to store energy.

Web Desk – Solar energy – converting energy from sunlight into electricity – is the cheapest and most effective long-term energy storage.

The solar industry has different innovations, and recently scientists in Sweden have developed and developed a specialized fluid called solar thermal fuel that can store energy from the sun for over a decade.

"Solar thermal fuel is like a rechargeable battery, but instead of electricity, you put sunshine and radiate, which can be triggered on demand," said Jeffrey Grossman, an engineer working with these materials at MIT. media house.

Scientists at the Shalmers Technological University in Sweden work to improve the liquid, which is technically a molecule in a liquid form composed of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen.

When sunlight falls on it, something unusual happens: connections between its atoms are rearranged, transforming into an energized new version called isomer.

As a result, sun energy is captured between the strong chemical bonds of the isomer and stays there even when the molecule is cooled to room temperature.

When energy is needed – for example, at night or in winter – the liquid simply draws through a catalyst that returns the molecule in its original form to release energy in the form of heat.

"Now the energy in this isomer can be stored for up to 18 years," said Kasper Mott-Polsen, a nanomaterial at Chalmers University, adding that when energy is stored, there is a significant increase over expected results.

Amazing results attracted the attention of numerous investors when a prototype of the energy system was placed on the roof of a university building for testing, according to researchers.

The non-emission renewable energy device consists of a hollow reflector with a pipe in the center that tracks the sun as a kind of satellite antenna – modeling the system to work round the road.

The liquid is pumped through transparent tubes, which in turn are heated by the sunlight. This enables the norbornadiene molecule in a heat capture isomer called quadricyclamine.

Later the liquid is stored at room temperature with minimal energy loss.

When the energy is needed, the liquid is filtered through a special catalyst that turns its molecules back into its original form, warming the liquid to 63 degrees Celsius.

The hope is that this heat can be used for domestic heating systems, a water heater, a dishwasher, a clothes dryer, and many others before returning to the roof.

Researchers have put the fluid through this cycle more than 125 times, capturing the heat and releasing it without significant damage to the molecule.

"Recently, we have achieved a number of important achievements, and today we have an emissions-free energy system that works all year round," Mott-Polsen said.

Researchers say their liquid can now store 250 watts of energy per kilogram, twice the energy capacity of Tesla Powerwall batteries.

By further improving and optimizing the system, researchers expect even more power generation, at least 110 degrees Celsius.

They expect the technology to be commercially available within 10 years if everything goes as planned.

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