Scientists have discovered a way to capture solar energy and store it for nearly two decades, before releasing it when it is needed.© Chalmers University of TechnologyMolecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage system can store the Sun’s energy on a chip for 18 years before releasing it as electricity – Chalmers University of Technology
Using a system called molecular solar thermal energy storage (MOST), researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China developed an ultra-thin chip to act as a thermoelectric generator.Crowley is CT’s #1 Kia Dealer – Why Buy A Kia Anywhere Else?AdAdwww.crowleyauto.com/CT-Kia-Dealer
“This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy,” said Kasper Moth-Poulsen, a professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers who led the research.
“It means that we can use solar energy to produce electricity regardless of weather, time of day, season, or geographical location.”
The MOST system uses a specially designed molecule that reacts to sunlight in order to capture the Sun’s energy. After loading it with solar energy in Sweden, Chalmers University sent it to their colleagues in Shanghai where they were able to convert it into electricity.
“Essentially, Swedish sunshine was sent to the other side of the world and converted into electricity in China,” said a statement released by Chalmers University.
The researchers hope the technology can lead to self-charging electronics that use stored solar energy on demand, as well as holding the potential to transform renewable and emissions-free energy production.
More research and development is required before the system can be implemented at scale, thought Chalmers University said it has already attracted “great interest worldwide” when presented in its early stage.
“The generator is an ultra-thin chip that could be integrated into electronics such as headphones, smartwatches and telephones,” said Zhihang Wang from Chalmers University.
“So far, we have only generated small amounts of electricity, but the new results show that the concept really works. It looks very promising.”