For new solar battery shape-shifting chemical is important
Electricity used in the United States is coming from the power plants driven by fossil fuels like natural gas, oil, and coal. Around 1.5% of electricity is produced by solar energy. However, energy from the sun can easily power the need if it can be conserved for use at night.
Kasper Moth-Poulsen, Chemical Engineer is using physics and chemistry to project problems to solutions. Kasper Moth-Poulsen works at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden and teamed up with other scientists in Spain and Sweden to solve the issue of conserving energy from the sun. The main solution is to conserve the energy inside the bonds of molecules suspended in a liquid.
Molecules include two or more atoms and share electrons with the help of bonds that attach them together.
Various types of molecules are having 3D shapes. For instance, methane is designed like tetrahedron i.e. three-sided pyramid. Adding energy to a molecule can vary its shape accordingly. New bonds may be formed between their atoms and hold various amounts of energy. When the energy is absorbed by a molecule and that energy can be trapped with those new bonds.
For motivation, they twisted to work by other chemists and discovered the encouraging candidate known as norbornadiene. It is made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms established in living things. This proves that a molecule should be easy and affordable to make.
The chemical can absorb ultraviolet light i.e. the small part of sunlight. For making the molecule more useful, scientists twisted in such a manner that it will absorb the wavelengths of sunlight and this invention is easier. Actually, it took many years to succeed. The molecule can engross the energy from green and blue light.
Moreover, absorbing energy, molecule cracks in a new shape. Energy is trapped in atoms of new bonds and hold them tightly, after cooling the molecules to room temperature. A team of Moth-Poulsen’s team discovered the way to get the molecule to release the stored energy as heat. Scientists pass the liquid over the type of salt behaving as a catalyst. FurtherThe salt makes the molecule to change back in the original shape. The molecule is releasing the energy that is stored in bonds and increases the temperature of liquid by around 64°C to heat the home.
Future of Solar Power
Moth-Poulsen said that “A liquid battery made with these molecules can store solar energy for days, months or even years”. The energy stored in summer days can be preserved for night use or while winter when days are short.
Further, in Sweden, at the lab, Moth-Poulsen and the team have tested their system in the rooftop experiment. Primarily, the team is required to raise the absorption of the sun’s energy from the molecule. Moth-Poulsen said that “We are aiming at reaching 5 to 10 percent” of that energy.
Moth Poulsen commented that “Storing more energy in the molecule’s bonds means these could later release more heat. And while the system doesn’t make electricity, the heat it releases could be used to drive a turbine that does”.
Moth-Poulsen claims that “We have discovered some new tricks recently”. He expects that this will support the home-heating system works even better and will increase the attractiveness and affordability.