Researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden have demonstrated an efficient method for storing solar energy in chemical liquid, which can be then released as heat whenever needed, according to a report on the university website.
Chalmers University scientists work on the new solar energy storage system. (YouTube)
The researchers created a molecular solar thermal system that converts solar energy directly into energy stored in the bonds of a chemical fluid.
The article explained, “The liquid chemical makes it possible to store and transport the stored solar energy and release it on demand, with full recovery of the storage medium. The process is based on the organic compound norbornadiene that upon exposure to light converts into quadricyclane.”
According to one of the researchers, when the chemical energy storage was combined with water heating solar panels there was a conversion rate of more than 80 percent of the sunlight.
This is the culmination of a six-year research project that provided a conceptual demonstration in 2013. Four years ago, the energy conversion rate was only 0.01 percent and it required expensive materials, but it now stores 1.1 percent of the sunlight as latent energy and cheaper carbon-based elements are used.
The research was recently published in Energy & Environmental Science. The abstract stated:
“A hybrid solar energy system consisting of a molecular solar thermal energy storage system (MOST) combined with a solar water heating system (SWH) is presented.
“The MOST chemical energy storage system is based on norbornadiene–quadricyclane derivatives allowing for conversion of solar energy into stored chemical energy at up to 103 kJ mol−1 (396 kJ kg−1). It is demonstrated that 1.1% of incoming solar energy can be stored in the chemical system without significantly compromising the efficiency of the solar water heating system, leading to efficiencies of combined solar water heating and solar energy storage of up to 80%.
“Moreover, prospects for future improvement and possible applications are discussed.”
To learn more about the new energy storage system, watch the video below: