Scientists developed liquid that can store solar energy for 18 years

Store solar energy

With the world moving towards sustainability and improving the environment, the use of fossil fuel is slowly depleting. Many countries are now focusing on the use of solar energy to generate electricity and it has proven to be the future. Scientists are also studying solar power to help balance our energy consumption. The Borg energy India private limited, a company that offers micro power plants to the people are also creating more awareness on the use of solar energy.

Borg Energy India also offers effective and efficient products that improve sustainably. However, as promising as solar energy, it also has its challenges. These challenges include the inability to store solar energy for long term use and its availability only during the daytime. Storage is an important factor as it ensures we can make use of power even when the sun is not shining. 

The discovery

Many scientists have been researching how to store solar energy and finally, there is hope for the future. A team of scientists in Sweden has developed a solar thermal fuel. This specialised fluid is said to store energy captured from the sun for 18 years. These scientists are researchers from the Chalmer University of Technology Sweden and have been working on this project for over a year. 

How it works

The device makes use of a Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage System to capture solar energy from the sun and it works in a circular motion. A pump cycles the solar thermal fuel through transparent tubes. When the fuel comes in contact with sunlight, the bonds between its atoms are rearranged and it turns into an energy-rich isomer.  

These isomer strong chemical bonds then capture energy from the sun and store it. The amazing thing is that the energy remains strong after the liquid is cooled down to room temperature. This device can also tap up to 30% of raw solar energy and the solar panel can only harness 21%. This means Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage System will make a significant difference in storing solar power. 

Device application

This tapped energy is used by transferring the liquid through a catalyst which is developed by the researchers. The catalyst produces a reaction that warms the liquid by 63 degree Celsius. This process makes the molecules come back to their original form and also releases energy in the form of heat. 

The heat released can be used for industrial applications which include distillation, sterilisation, and many more. It can also be used in low-temperature heat for cooking, water heater, and other applications. This same liquid can be pumped back into the Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage System where it can tap and store solar energy and reused it. The Sweden researchers have reused the same fluid more than 120 times and they have not reported any damage to its molecular structure.

The liquid can store up to 250 watts per hour of energy per one kilogram explains the Sweden research team leader. Kasper Moth-Poulsen, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. 

This is approximately double what Tesla Powerwall batteries can do. The researchers are also working on developing a prototype of this device and the European Union have given them a grant of 4.3 Euro. This grant is said to last for at least three years.

“With this funding, the development we can now do in the MOST project may lead to new solar-driven and emissions-free solutions for heating in residential and industrial applications. This project is heading into a very important and exciting stage.” Kasper Moth-Poulsen said in a statement. 

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